Former Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf argued on Wednesday that President Biden’s intention to revoke Donald Trump’s travel bans for majority-Muslim countries is “going to make the American people less safe.”
Speaking on “America Reports” shortly after Biden took the oath of office on Wednesday, Wolf called the move to reverse the travel bans “very disappointing.”
On Wednesday, Biden will issue a slew of executive orders, including signing an order putting an end to what he describes as “the Muslim ban” — which refers to the travel bans placed on predominantly Muslim and African countries due to national security concerns.
“I had hoped that his team would come in and really take a look at what the department has done,” Wolf said, noting that there was “never any Muslim ban” as the travel restrictions were “not based on religion.”
“Instead, what the department has done over the course of four years is spell out very specific criteria that these countries need to meet,” he said. “We’re very up front with them about how to meet that and in the process, we are getting more information today… known and suspected terrorist travel patterns today because of this process than we ever have.”
“And to come in and to reverse that without a thoughtful process is very concerning,” Wolf continued.
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The Biden transition team said the order would restart visa processing and to “swiftly develop a proposal to restore fairness and remedy the harms caused by the bans, especially for individuals stuck in the waiver process and those who had immigrant visas denied.”
Separately, Biden is ending construction of the wall at the southern border — one of Trump’s signature policies, which has seen 450 miles of wall built since 2017. Biden has promised to stop wall construction, even though Trump officials said that an additional 350 miles is funded.
Wolf noted on Wednesday that the border wall what the operators on the ground need for border security.
“What President Trump did, what the department did and leadership even before me is listen to our operators on the ground,” Wolf said. “So my concern is, again you’re fulfilling a campaign pledge, which I understand politics, but you are making the country less safe.”
Wolf pointed to Biden’s comments while campaigning when he said he would like to add more technology at the border, saying that was welcome but not enough.
“At the end of the day they [Border Patrol Agents] need that impedance and denial an effective border wall system gives them,” Wolf stressed, adding that he hopes the Biden administration reconsiders its decision.
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The order directs “an immediate pause” on projects to allow what the Biden team calls a “close review” of the legality of the funding for the wall, and how to redirect funds that were put to the wall by the Trump administration.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.