Rex W. Tillerson
Ronald Reagan Building
March 6, 2017
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Hello. Good morning and thank you for joining us. The executive order signed by the President earlier today, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, is a vital measure for strengthening our national security. It is the President’s solemn duty to protect the American people. And with this order, President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe.
As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and re-assess the systems we rely upon to protect our country. While no system can be made completely infallible, the American people can have high confidence we are identifying ways to improve the vetting process and thus keep terrorists from entering our country.
To our allies and partners around the world: Please understand this order is part of our ongoing efforts to eliminate vulnerabilities that radical Islamist terrorists can and will exploit for destructive ends. The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies and implement these temporary restrictions in an orderly manner. Our embassies and consulates around the world will play an important role in making sure that our nation is as secure as it can be.
And the State Department will implement the provisions in this order that allow for the admissions of refugees when it is determined they do not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.
Upon the President’s initial executive order issued on January the 27th, the State Department’s Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security offices immediately undertook a review, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, to identify additional measures that would strengthen our vetting of those seeking entry to the United States from seven named countries. These early efforts were concentrated on Iraq. Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS, with their brave soldiers fighting in close coordination with America’s men and women in uniform.
This intense review over the past month identified multiple security measures that the State Department and the Government of Iraq will be implementing to achieve our shared objective of preventing those with criminal or terroristic intent from reaching the United States.
I want to express my appreciation to Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq for his positive engagement and support for implementing these actions. The United States welcomes this kind of close cooperation with countries in every region of the world who share our commitment to national security.
This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and her allies.
Now, we’ve spent the morning briefing the Congress, the press, and we will continue to talk with key stakeholders this afternoon. Experts from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department hosted an hour-long call with the media on this topic this morning. Our collective teams will continue throughout the day to follow up with the Congress, the media, and stakeholders to answer your questions.
I’ll now turn it to the Attorney General for his comments.