By Kate KelloggCNN|September 17, 2018–(CNN) The Department of Homeland Security will announce that it will stop processing immigrants from countries with large Muslim populations, a move that the Trump administration says is designed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamic State militants.
The move, which DHS Secretary John Kelly said was made to avoid “radicalization” and protect the homeland from threats from abroad, comes after a series of recent attacks that have targeted Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Kelly said the government was taking the necessary steps to “protect the homeland.”
Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country, had pledged to deport as many as 10 million undocumented immigrants who are citizens or legal residents.
The president has repeatedly attacked immigrants from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere as threats to American security.
Trump on Monday called the move a “political stunt” and said he would take a more direct approach to immigration.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Kelly planned to halt the flow of immigrants from the countries with high Muslim populations.
The administration’s move is part of an effort to address concerns from Democrats that Trump is not acting aggressively enough to deport those who are in the country illegally.
Kelly also said in a statement that DHS will begin the process of establishing a new “global” office to oversee the agency’s immigration operations, a statement he repeated in a news conference on Tuesday.
“The new Global Operations Directorate will be tasked with assisting DHS in addressing the rapidly expanding and complex global threat posed by foreign nationals living in the United State and in foreign countries who are not legally present,” Kelly said.
“This new office will be headed by a former U.S. Attorney and former senior DHS official, with experience in the field of immigration law and homeland security.”