"That doesn't mean we do it with a blind eye," Morgan said to reporters in the White House Briefing Room, as he said anyone with a criminal record from the Bahamas would be allowed in - but then would be detained by U.S. immigration authorities, and not simply released into the country.
Two Republican Senators from Florida had quickly urged the White House to accept people from the Bahamas, as the scope of the devastation from Hurricane Dorian became more and more apparent over the weekend.
“As Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after #Dorian, we cannot have the kind of confusion that occurred last night in Freeport,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), referring to a situation where many people were asked to get off a ferry, because they did not have a special visa to enter the U.S. - something not normally needed.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said the issue may have been a lack of coordination with U.S. officials by the shipping company.
"Many Bahamian survivors have already entered the U.S. without a visa on ships that coordinated the process of checking passports & police records in advance," Rubio said.
A few hours later, President Trump struck a much tougher tone on the issue of allowing people from the Bahamas in to the U.S.
“I don't want to allow people who weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States,” the President told reporters.
“We have to be careful,” Mr. Trump told reporters outside the White House. “Everybody needs totally proper documentation.”