WASHINGTON― After scores of refugees were trapped at American airports this weekend due to President Donald Trump’s sweeping immigration ban, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that the inconvenience the order has caused “1 percent” of people flying into the country is worth the extra security.
“325,000 people from overseas came into this country just yesterday through our airports,” she said on Fox News Sunday. “You’re talking about 300-and-some who have been detained or are prevented from gaining access to an aircraft in their home countries and must stay for now. That’s 1 percent, and I think in terms of the upside being greater protection of our borders of our people, it’s a small price to pay.”
The executive order Trump signed on Friday halts refugee resettlement for 120 days; bans Syrian refugees from entering the country; and blocks immigration for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The order also ensnared green card holders from those seven countries, who now must be approved for entry on a case-by-case basis.
On Saturday night, protests erupted at several major U.S. airports where immigrants and refugees were being detained. A federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the order, ruling that it “violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
The White House has been trying to downplay the effects of the unprecedented immigration ban amid global outcry. “This really comes down to 109 people, who are all being processed through the system to make sure that when they’ve gone out of the country, gone somewhere that is one of those seven countries and coming back, that they’ve done so and not tried to go there and do anything that would cause our nation harm,” spokesman Sean Spicer said Sunday on ABC News.
Conway suggested that the order is fair because her own travel was slowed down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “I was stopped many times after 9/11,” she said. “I didn’t resemble, or share a name with any kind of conspiracy, but this is what we do to keep the nation safe.”