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Rep. Rice: What Has DHS Done to Examine & Improve Vetting Procedures?

As Trump administration rolls out Travel Ban 2.0, Rice requests information about directives in the original EO that weren’t affected by the temporary restraining order

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Pittsburgh, March 7, 2017 | Coleman Lamb ((202) 225-5516) | comments

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, today requested information from the Department of Homeland Security related to any actions taken pursuant to the original Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which was announced on January 27, 2017. In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, Rice notes that while a federal court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the enforcement of some of the Executive Order’s most controversial provisions, several significant sections of the original Executive Order were not affected by the TRO and remain in effect until the revised Executive Order is implemented on March 16, 2017. Those sections include:

  • Section 3(a) and Section 3(b) – Directed the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to “immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit,” and report to the President within 30 days on the results of that review, including their “determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information.” Rice asked Sec. Kelly if that report was submitted to the President by February 26, 2017, as required by the Executive Order, and if that report will be provided to the House Committee on Homeland Security.
  • Section 4(a) and 4(b) – Directed the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, the DNI, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to develop a “uniform screening standard and procedure” for all immigration programs, and report to the President on the progress of this directive within 60 days, again within 100 days, and again within 200 days. Rice asked Sec. Kelly if they’ve begun the process of developing these standards, if they’re on schedule to submit the first report by March 28, 2017, and if this report will be provided to the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“The administration has maintained that they must suspend refugee resettlements and travel from certain countries in order to review and strengthen vetting procedures,” Rice wrote in the letter to Sec. Kelly. “While I believe that our current exhaustive vetting and screening procedures are effective, particularly for refugees, I recognize that our processes are never perfect and we should always be looking for ways to improve them. Since the provisions of the original Executive Order outlined above were not affected by the TRO, I assume that DHS and other relevant agencies have already begun to follow these directives – if not, it would suggest that the administration did nothing for 39 days to examine and improve vetting and screening procedures, which would call into question the administration’s stated purpose for issuing this Executive Order.”

Rice continued, “I respectfully request that you provide prompt answers to the questions listed above, as well as an update on any efforts taken or progress made pursuant to any other provisions of the original Executive Order that were not affected by the TRO.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

 

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