Over the weekend, President Donald Trump fulfilled a longstanding campaign promise by signing an executive order to temporarily limit immigration from dangerous regions in the Middle East.
The president’s action pauses the issuance of all new immigrant and non-immigrant visas for 90 days from seven Middle Eastern countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Additionally, the president suspended the entire refugee resettlement program for four months while it undergoes review for possible reform.
The president’s actions are legal.But amid a media backlash, several Republican members of Congress are distancing themselves from the White House, or outright opposing Trump’s actions vocally. Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin will be addressing the “pathetic GOP retreat” from the president’s executive action later today on his radio and CRTV programs.
But who are the GOP representatives that are leading the charge? The following …
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (F, 15%)
In a statement released to a local TV station, Sen. Alexander said "this vetting proposal itself needed more vetting. More scrutiny of those traveling from war-torn countries to the United States is wise. But this broad and confusing order seems to ban legal, permanent residents with ‘green cards' [...] And while not explicitly a religious test, it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine (F, 10%)
“The worldwide refugee ban set forth in the executive order is overly broad and implementing it will be immediately problematic,” said Sen. Susan Collins.
“As I stated last summer, religious tests serve no useful purpose in the immigration process and run contrary to our American values.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (F, 45%)
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a statement that "this executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders. The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions."
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. (F, 50%)
In a statement posted to Medium, Senator Flake said, “President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (F, 30%)
Senator Graham released a joint statement with Arizona Senator John McCain, stating: “It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted … 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.”
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. (F, 58%)
Senator Heller tweeted that he was “deeply troubled by the appearance of religious ban. The use of an overly broad executive order is not the way strengthen national security.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (F, 32%)
Sen. McCain told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the effect of President Trump’s executive order “will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda.”
“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,” McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham said in their joint statement. “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.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. (A, 94%)
In a press release, the senator from Nebraska said, “The President is right to focus attention on the obvious fact that borders matter. At the same time, while not technically a Muslim ban, this order is too broad.”
Senator Sasse said that the two ways “to lose our generational battle against jihadism” are firstly to pretend jihadi terrorism has no connection to Islam. Secondly, said the senator, “If we send a signal to the Middle East that the U.S. sees all Muslims as jihadis, the terrorist recruiters win by telling kids that America is banning Muslims and that this is America versus one religion.”
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. (A, 96%)
Rep. Amash has been a vocal opponent of the president’s actions, challenging the legality of the executive order on social media. “It's not lawful to ban immigrants on the basis of nationality,” Amash wrote. “If the president wants to change immigration law, he must work with Congress.”
Amash said he agrees with the need for tougher vetting of refugees, “but a blanket ban represents an extreme approach not consistent with our nation's values.”
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo. (F, 56%)
"While I've supported heightened vetting procedures, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds," Rep. Coffman tweeted.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla. (F, 19%)
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. (F, 28%)
“This is ridiculous,” Rep. Dent told The Washington Post. “I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration. You know, there are many, many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for many innocent, vulnerable people around the world.”
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
“The president's policy entirely misses the mark," Rep. Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
"The reality is, terrorism inspired by radicalism and hate is global in scope and, as such, requires a comprehensive response, not a purely regional focus. While serious actions are needed to protect our country, these must not be done in a way that singles out any specific nations or ethnicities."
Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas (F, 25%)
"This visa ban is the ultimate display of mistrust and will erode our allies' willingness to fight with us,” Rep. Hurd told CNN. “The ban also provides terrorists with another tool to gain sympathy and recruit new fighters."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Leithin, R-Fla. (F, 24%)
Rep. Ros-Leithin released the following statement:
“I object to the suspension of visas from the seven named countries because we could have accomplished our objective of keeping our homeland safe by immediate implementation of more thorough screening procedures. I do note, however, that at least some individuals will continue to be admitted during this suspension period on a case by case basis and that the suspension period is temporary. In no case should this order be applied to individuals to whom visas have already been issued or who are already permanent legal US residents.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. (F, 19%)
Rep. Stefanik voiced her opposition to the executive order on Facebook: “Our first role as the federal government is to protect our national security and I believe we need to work in Congress to reform and strengthen our visa vetting process. However, I oppose President Trump's rushed and overly broad Executive Order.”
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio (F, 31%)
Rep. Stivers said, “I believe the executive order risks violating our nation's values and fails to differentiate mainstream Islamic partners from radical Islamic terrorists. ... I urge the administration to quickly replace this temporary order with permanent improvements."