Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly: Some nations affected by immigration order may stay on list

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nationals from the seven Muslim-majority countries temporarily blocked from entering the United States by President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration may not be granted admission any time soon, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Tuesday.

Under the order released Friday, travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are banned from entering the United States for at least 90 days while Kelly and others determine whether there is enough information available to vet them.

"Some of those countries that are currently on the list may not be taken off the list anytime soon, if they are countries that are in various states of collapse, as an example," Kelly told a press conference.


SEE ALSO: Business leaders voice concern over Trump administration's travel ban

Kelly said other countries could be added to the list if it is determined they "could tighten up their procedures" to ensure more secure vetting.

Confusion mounted over the weekend as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, rushed to brief airlines, customs agents and others involved in air travel about how to implement Trump's executive order, which was not explicit about how to handle green card holders and other previously admissible populations.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters he had briefed the appropriate parties "within two hours" of the order but did not say he was given advance notice or guidance over how the order should be handled.

Kelly said he did know the executive order was coming and "had people involved in the general drafting of it."

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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
A young girl dances with an American flag in baggage claim while women pray behind her during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
People chant and hold signs as they protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport International Arrivals gate in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Lawyers and legal assistants network and use social media in the baggage claim area, amid supplies of pizza, water and other food, at Dulles International Airport, aiding passengers who have arrived and encounter problems because of Donald Trump's travel ban to the United States, in Chantilly, Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Volunteer lawyers work in a dining area of Terminal 4 to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Lawyer Darryl Hairston works with a team of volunteer lawyers to arrange habeus corpus petitions for travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Hatfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Demonstrators sit inside LAX international terminal and yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Women walk by a team of volunteer lawyers in their makeshift office working to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators march and block traffic during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold signs outside Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) protesting against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Court decisions temporarily blocked the U.S. administration from enforcing parts of Trump's order after a day in which students, refugees and dual citizens were stuck overseas or detained and some businesses warned employees from those countries not to risk leaving the United States. Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters march during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators against President Donald Trump's Muslim Ban come together at 2nd Day of protests at Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California, United States on January 29, 2017. Lots of muslim people still under custody of US Custom and Border Patrol after Trumps's executive order. (Photo by Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Protesters gather at the international arrivals area of the Washington Dulles International Airport on January 29, 2017, in Sterling, Virginia. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order yesterday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days. / AFP / Thomas WATKINS (Photo credit should read THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors crowd the sidewalks at HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport to denounce US President Donald Trump's executive order, which restricts refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries in Atlanta, Georgia on January 29, 2017 / AFP / TAMI CHAPPELL (Photo credit should read TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 600 people holding protests signs gathered on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 at the Boise Airport to voice opposition to President Donald Trump's recent refugee order. The protest started with a FaceBook page asking people in the area to join a nationwide movement to gather at airports. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: A police officer stands guard as demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Thousands turn out for a January 29th, 2017 Immigration Ban Protest at Philadelphia International Airport, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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A Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers had no advance notice of the order or how they should respond to it.

Kelly also said people from the seven targeted nations who hold dual citizenship will be allowed to enter the United States on the passport of a non-restricted nation.

The executive order also stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.

But the administration granted waivers to 872 refugees "in transit" who will be arriving in the United States this week.

Several lawsuits have been filed blocking portions of the order, which drew harsh criticism from Democrats, human rights organizations and some Western U.S. allies.

Since the order, 721 travelers with visas from the seven countries were denied boarding U.S.-bound flights, according to McAleenan. The department has also processed 1,060 waivers for legal permanent residents, such as green card holders.

Kelly said federal immigration and customs officials were in compliance with the court orders on immigration and no agent knowingly or intentionally violated them.

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