WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senators are reacting to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order signed last week that bars travelers and immigrants from certain countries.
Republican Iowa Senator Charles Grassley said “National security is the number one responsibility of the federal government, and keeping terrorists out of the United States must be a top priority. The goals of the Executive Order are commendable, and something President Trump promised during the campaign, but implementation will be key to ensuring the bad guys are kept out while the United States remains a welcoming nation to people of all backgrounds and religions.”
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC) issued the following joint statement regarding the President’s executive order:
After reviewing the recent Executive Orders, it is clear to us that some of what is being said and reported about the scope and implications of these measures is misleading. However, it is also clear that the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of the last few days.
We generally support additional vetting for many of those entering our country from nations where the United States has identified there are serious concerns regarding terrorist activities and planning. But given the broad scope and nature of these policy changes, we have some unanswered questions and concerns.
We are seeking clarity on the changes to the Visa Waiver program, which is critical to the economies of our respective states.
And we are uneasy about the potential impact of these measures on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us.
We are both committed to doing what we must to keep America safe. We are equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution. Like so many Americans, we are both guided by our belief that when we stand before our Creator to face judgment, He will say that “to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
That is why we intend to do all we can to both keep America safe, and keep America special.
U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement on the President’s executive order on immigration:
“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.
“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.
“Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.
“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren called the Executive Order a “Muslim ban”:
Fifteen months ago, I traveled to the Greek island of Lesvos – the first stop for many Syrian refugees as they flee from the terrors of ISIS. I saw the shoddy, paper-thin rubber rafts that people cram onto with nothing more than a hope and a prayer that they’ll make it across the choppy, rocky sea. I saw plastic pool floaties that parents put on small children, hoping that would be enough to save them if the raft went down. And I met a 7-year-old girl – younger than my own granddaughters – who had been sent out on that perilous journey alone. I thought about what horrors must have possessed her parents to hand a wad of cash to human smugglers with only the most desperate dream that their little girl would find something better on the other side.
Today, Donald Trump closed the door on that little girl – and on so many others who are running for their lives.
A Muslim ban by any other name is still a Muslim ban.
President Trump’s executive order restricting immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries and freezing admission of refugees – including Syrian refugees – is a betrayal of American values. We are a country of immigrants and refugees, of people fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom, a country made strong by our diversity and inclusion. The Syrian refugees admitted to the United States last year are children, doctors, teachers, civil engineers, and college students who sought safety from terrorists like ISIS. Turning our back on these refugees because of their religion creates recruiting fodder for ISIS and other terrorist groups that want to escalate a fabricated war between the United States and Islam.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”:
“We are a welcoming nation, a nation of immigrants – of all religions and from countries across the world; but we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure the protection of our homeland.
“As I have said previously, I believe it is prudent to take the time necessary to reassess the quality and adequacy of the vetting processes we rely on for our refugee and visa programs. With respect to the President’s Executive Order, there must be more clarity surrounding the order’s implementation. In our efforts to protect our nation from ISIS, we also must ensure we are not inadvertently penalizing our allies in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism– especially those who have supported U.S. military efforts in Iraq.
“Moreover, we must ultimately address the underlying cause of the current humanitarian crisis by devising and executing a successful strategy to destroy our ISIS enemy.”