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U.S. Official Says 'Extreme Vetting' To Include Social-Media, Telephone Checks

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly listens to questions during a press conference related to President Donald Trump's recent executive order concerning travel and refugees on January 31 in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said that would-be travelers from the seven Muslim-majority countries affected by U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban will be subject to “extreme vetting” in the future.

Kelly said on January 31 that the vetting will include scrutiny of social media and an examination of their telephone records.

He added that there are “many countries” in addition to the seven targeted so far that “don’t have the kind of law enforcement, records-keeping, that kind of thing, that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are.”

Kelly also denied media reports that he had not been informed in advance of Trump’s new policy, saying that he had seen two different drafts of the executive order.

On January 27, Trump ordered a 90-day suspension of arrivals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as all refugees.

Kelly said the ban could be extended if the new vetting procedures are not ready by the deadline.

On the same day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenen clarified that dual nationals who hold citizenship from a country not on the list will be able to enter the United States “based on the passport that they present.”

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters