US President Donald Trump has announced the US will waive travel bans for hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists, in what the US government calls a “travel moratorium”.
The US president said the move is designed to protect the country from the threat of terrorist attacks by US citizens.
He said in a tweet that the travel ban would help protect American interests and interests of American citizens, but that it is “not a ban on the US or anyone else”.
In a separate move, the US is set to begin accepting refugees from Syria, a move Mr Trump called “historic” in a statement on Thursday.
The US has been at the forefront of the refugee crisis, which has displaced millions and prompted global protests.
In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Mr Trump said the US was not the only country that was looking for a solution to the refugee issue.
“We’ve got a lot of other countries that are going to have to do something,” he said.
“I think we’ve got to have a solution.
But it’s a big country.”
The ban was originally issued in October, and the move was announced in December.
But on Thursday, Mr Pence said the ban was “not going to be a suspension” and “will not be a ban” and the US would be able to accept refugees from the countries.
“The US is not taking refugees from any countries, including Syria,” he told reporters.
The president said that the US had “a responsibility” to protect itself.
“If you’re going to go and defend our country, if you’re a patriot, you’re got a duty to defend the United States,” he added.
“You’ve got an obligation to protect your family, your country, your people.
If you’re not going to do that, we’re not taking you in.”
Mr Trump’s comments came as US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the country would continue to take in refugees from countries with a history of human rights abuses.
“Our goal is not to restrict refugees or to ban refugees.
Our goal is to make sure that we protect the US, and we will continue to do so,” Mr Sessions said on the Senate floor on Thursday morning.”
That is what our mission is.
We are going back to the basics of national security.”
Mr Sessions also called on the President to end his executive order that imposed a travel ban on several Middle Eastern countries, which had caused chaos in airports and led to arrests and lawsuits.
“These orders have hurt many people and hurt businesses.
They have hurt our national security, they have hurt jobs,” he argued.