WASHINGTON — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told lawmakers Tuesday that he should have delayed implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order to suspend the country’s refugee admissions program and temporarily ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
“In retrospect I should have …delayed it just a bit so that I could talk to members of Congress,” Kelly said, adding that he takes full responsibility for its quick implementation.
WATCH: Kelly testifies on travel ban
Kelly was testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Kelly’s first public remarks before lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Kelly also said the administration is not considering adding other countries to the list of nations that are in the travel ban.
Demonstrators pass a volunteer immigration attorney as they march in support of a ruling by a federal judge in Seattle that grants a nationwide temporary restraining order against the presidential order to ban travel to the United States from seven Muslim countries.
The travel ban has been suspended since Friday, when a federal judge in Washington state temporarily prohibited the federal government from enforcing it.
The administration has appealed the decision and a federal appeals court is due to hear oral arguments later Tuesday.
Kelly predicted the court will rule in the administration’s favor. “It is my belief that we will prevail and be able to take the steps necessary to protect our nation,” the retired Marine general said.