The U.S. government has granted waivers to let 872 refugees into the country this week, despite President Donald Trump’s executive order on Friday temporarily banning entry of refugees from any country, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security document seen by Reuters.
Kevin McAleenan, the acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said Tuesday that the refugees were already traveling and stopping them would cause “undue hardship.” Their admission comes despite President Donald Trump’s warnings that refugees like these, vetted under the Obama administration, were not adequately screened to ensure they are not potential terrorists.
“I would be less than honest if I told you that some of those countries that are currently on the list may not be taken off the list anytime soon,” Kelly said. “They’re countries that are in various states of collapse” and may not be able to verify that people applying to come to the United States are who they say they are.
The waivers, granted by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), came amid international protests against Trump’s rushed executive order. Critics said the order in some cases was not clearly communicated to the agencies responsible for implementing it.
It was not known if additional waivers would be granted, the official said. The document did not give the nationalities of the refugees who will be admitted into the United States.