New York: US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has said there should be no travel ban on the basis of religion, but defended President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, saying it is meant to keep the country safe.
Haley said she believes that legal immigration is the "fabric" of America, pointing out that she is the "proud daughter" of Indian immigrants.
"I'm the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me everyday how blessed we were to be in this country," she said responding to questions after her speech at the think tank Council on Foreign Relations here on Wednesday.
She was asked if Trump's immigration policies and vetting people coming in from Muslim-majority nations carry the risk of alienating the three million Muslim-Americans already in the country.
"We should never ban based on religion. Period. I don't think that's what this is," she said, adding that there are another dozen Muslim-majority countries that could have been on the list of the seven countries on Trump's executive order but are not.
"We will never close our doors in the US but what we did do is take a pause and say how are we going to keep our people safe," she said while expressing hope that the vetting process gets better and the administration moves forward with it.
She said Trump's travel ban aimed to make sure that no danger comes into the US.
"This is not about not wanting people in. This is about keeping the terrorists out," she said.
Haley tried to further justify the ban by bringing up the recent terror attack in London. "When you look at situations like what happened in London, not just the President but everyone is trying to make sure we are keeping our people safe."
The attack on the UK Parliament was perpetrated by a man identified as Khalid Masood who, according to media reports, was not an immigrant but born in the county of Kent in southeast England.