Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly sounded a loud alarm Tuesday over an “unprecedented spike in terrorist travel” including to the U.S., moving to shore up the defense of the administration’s travel ban one day after President Trump’s tweets seemed to undercut his case before the Supreme Court.
The threat from terrorist “foot soldiers” is as great as ever, he said, and they are returning from training in Iraq and Syria home to Europe with orders to attack. Mr. Kelly said he expects some will try to reach the U.S. — but his hands have been tied by the federal courts.
The secretary dismissed accusations that Mr. Trump’s latest travel ban executive order discriminates against a
religion, saying the president was relying on lists drawn up by Congress and the Obama administration to single out six countries for a 90-day halt.
“These are countries that are either unable or unwilling to help us validate the identities and backgrounds of persons within their borders,” he told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “Bottom line, I have been enjoined from doing these things that I know would make America safe, and I anxiously await the court to complete its action, one way or the other, so I can get to work.”
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