White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Sunday morning that President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the United States will not affect people granted legal permanent resident status through green cards “going forward.”
“As far as green card holders moving forward, it doesn’t affect them,” Priebus said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“This order does not impact any green card holders from these seven countries?” Chuck Todd asked.
“Well, of course it does,” Priebus replied. “If you’re traveling back and forth you’re going to be subjected to further screening. I mean, we are going to—”
“Are you going to do that to American citizens as well?” Todd asked.
“I would suspect that if you’re an American citizen traveling back and forth to Libya, you’re likely to be subjected to further questioning when you come into an airport,” Priebus replied.
“Why are you confident that’s constitutional?” Todd pressed. “By having to put in an extra hurdle for a green card holder in order to get back into the country, how are you confident that doesn’t violate their rights and that it doesn’t end up making this order unconstitutional?”
“First of all, the order is not affecting green card holders moving forward,” Priebus began.
“I’m confused by that,” Todd interrupted. “You keep saying ‘going forward,’ you just said it did.”
“If you had just slowed down for a second and listened, I could answer your question,” Priebus hit back.
“I understand that, but you’ve twice confused me, so I’m trying to understand the clarity,” Todd said.
“It’s because you don’t stop talking, Chuck,” Priebus said. “I love you, but I mean, let me answer the question. If you are a person, this is in regard to the executive order, the executive order doesn’t affect green card holders moving forward. I’ve said that.”
He suggested that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers “might ask a few more questions at JFK, or some other airport, when someone’s coming back and forth, within their discretionary authority.”
Those granted legal permanent resident status through green cards are included in Trump’s executive action, according to a report published Saturday by Reuters.
A senior administration official told White House pool reporters on Saturday that green card holders will have to be cleared on a case-by-case basis.