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Trump Issues Statement Defending Travel Bans

© REUTERS / J. Scott Applewhite/PoolPresident-elect Donald Trump walks to his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. January 20, 2017
President-elect Donald Trump walks to his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. January 20, 2017 - Sputnik International
Calling America a "proud nation of immigrants," US President Donald Trump defended the immigration restrictions he ordered January 27 and said he would continue "protect our own citizens and border."

"America has always been the land of the free and the home of the brave. We will keep it free and safe, as the media knows but refuses to say," Trump began his statement, taking aim at his favorite target, the US media.

Syrian refugees arrive on a fishing boat from Turkey on the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos , Sunday Sept. 27, 2015. - Sputnik International
Trump's Executive Order Halts Syrian Refugee Program Until Further Notice

He said while the country would continue to show "compassion to those fleeing oppression," it must do so while protecting itself, and that within 90 days, visas would begin being issued for "all countries."  

The new president equated his ban on accepting Syrian refugees, his four-month suspension of taking refugees from any country, and his ban on admitting nationals of seven Muslim countries to what former President Barack Obama did in 2011, when for six months he stopped issuing visas for refugees from Iraq.

Trump also noted that the seven nations his ban affects — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — were identified by the Obama administration as "sources of terror." 

"To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting," Trump said. "This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order."

"We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days," he said.

Trump also said he had "tremendous feeling" for those caught up in the "horrific humanitarian crisis" in Syria, but that his first priority is to American citizens. 

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