WV Press InSight Videos

Senators, representatives comment on Trump immigration order

By EVAN BEVINS

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the West Virginia and Ohio Congressional delegations agree national security is of the utmost importance, but they’re divided in their reactions to President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and entry by citizens of seven majority Muslim nations.

“This is not a ‘Muslim ban,’” Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio and a resident of Marietta, posted on Facebook Sunday. “Many countries with majority Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, were not included.

“The countries on this Trump administration temporary ban list were previously designated by the Obama administration, after Congress passed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, as nations where terrorism has flourished,” he said.

Immigrants and visitors from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen are temporarily blocked by the order.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has supported Trump on some issues recently, but said in a Monday evening statement that he believes “the scope and execution of the president’s action are not a common sense approach.

“We should focus all of our efforts on identifying potential terrorists, but common sense would tell you that a 5-year-old trying to join their family does not present a threat to our country,” Manchin said. “I am also concerned that the order was rushed through before being properly vetted by senior security advisers and members in the administration.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also noted the apparent lack of vetting on a measure intended to support extreme vetting of individuals wishing to enter the country. The senator said screening of people coming into the country needs to be improved but it should be done in a way that’s consistent with American values.

“In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security and again for this notion that America has always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants,” he said. “In fact, we are more welcoming than any country in the world, and we should continue to be so.”

Portman noted a Sudanese doctor who works at the Cleveland Clinic was detained in New York as she returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and put back on a plane to the Middle East.

“That’s not the way to do it,” he said.

Johnson said in his Facebook post that immigrants are still welcome.

“We remain a nation that welcomes immigrants with open arms, but our government owes the American people safety and security; and that requires prudent policies conceived from facts and reality, not policies driven by political correctness,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, issued a statement opposing the order over the weekend.

“We must continue to use every tool at our disposal to make sure our screening system is tough and effective, and I have and will continue to support meaningful efforts to ensure our vetting process works to keep terrorists out,”he said. “But targeting women, children and families who are fleeing the very same terrorists we are fighting against is wrong, will not make America safer, and may actually undermine our long-term security.”

Brown also expressed concern over Monday’s dismissal of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, after she refused to defend the refugee and immigration ban in court.

“The attorney general’s job is to uphold the Constitution and give independent legal advice — even when that means telling the president no,” he said via email. “We should be very concerned by any efforts to undermine the independence of the Department of Justice.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Tuesday that thoroughly vetting individuals entering the country is a part of protecting the homeland.

“This is about protecting our national security, not about targeting a specific religion,” the spokeswoman said via email. “There is no question that the rollout created some confusion and more clarification is needed, but she stands by the need for strengthened national security measures.”

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., expressed his support for the executive action Tuesday, saying any moratoriums should be lifted “as soon as stronger vetting mechanisms have been put into place by the new administration.”

“The current chaos and instability around the world along with the mass murder we have recently witnessed in European cities have proven that secure borders and a strong vetting process are necessary tools to defeating terrorism in the 21st century,” McKinley said in an emailed statement. “We must not allow anyone who wishes to do us harm to slip through the cracks.”

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said the order should not have surprised anyone.

“President Donald Trump made his concerns about immigration and security clear during his campaign,” he said in an emailed statement. “I support our president’s efforts to enforce the rule of law and secure our nation.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of the West Virginia and Ohio Congressional delegations agree national security is of the utmost importance, but they’re divided in their reactions to President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and entry by citizens of seven majority Muslim nations.

“This is not a ‘Muslim ban,’” Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio and a resident of Marietta, posted on Facebook Sunday. “Many countries with majority Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, were not included.

“The countries on this Trump administration temporary ban list were previously designated by the Obama administration, after Congress passed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, as nations where terrorism has flourished,” he said.

Immigrants and visitors from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen are temporarily blocked by the order.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has supported Trump on some issues recently, but said in a Monday evening statement that he believes “the scope and execution of the president’s action are not a common sense approach.

“We should focus all of our efforts on identifying potential terrorists, but common sense would tell you that a 5-year-old trying to join their family does not present a threat to our country,” Manchin said. “I am also concerned that the order was rushed through before being properly vetted by senior security advisers and members in the administration.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also noted the apparent lack of vetting on a measure intended to support extreme vetting of individuals wishing to enter the country. The senator said screening of people coming into the country needs to be improved but it should be done in a way that’s consistent with American values.

“In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security and again for this notion that America has always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants,” he said. “In fact, we are more welcoming than any country in the world, and we should continue to be so.”

Portman noted a Sudanese doctor who works at the Cleveland Clinic was detained in New York as she returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and put back on a plane to the Middle East.

“That’s not the way to do it,” he said.

Johnson said in his Facebook post that immigrants are still welcome.

“We remain a nation that welcomes immigrants with open arms, but our government owes the American people safety and security; and that requires prudent policies conceived from facts and reality, not policies driven by political correctness,” he said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, issued a statement opposing the order over the weekend.

“We must continue to use every tool at our disposal to make sure our screening system is tough and effective, and I have and will continue to support meaningful efforts to ensure our vetting process works to keep terrorists out,”he said. “But targeting women, children and families who are fleeing the very same terrorists we are fighting against is wrong, will not make America safer, and may actually undermine our long-term security.”

Brown also expressed concern over Monday’s dismissal of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Democratic appointee, after she refused to defend the refugee and immigration ban in court.

“The attorney general’s job is to uphold the Constitution and give independent legal advice — even when that means telling the president no,” he said via email. “We should be very concerned by any efforts to undermine the independence of the Department of Justice.”

A spokeswoman for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Tuesday that thoroughly vetting individuals entering the country is a part of protecting the homeland.

“This is about protecting our national security, not about targeting a specific religion,” the spokeswoman said via email. “There is no question that the rollout created some confusion and more clarification is needed, but she stands by the need for strengthened national security measures.”

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., expressed his support for the executive action Tuesday, saying any moratoriums should be lifted “as soon as stronger vetting mechanisms have been put into place by the new administration.”

“The current chaos and instability around the world along with the mass murder we have recently witnessed in European cities have proven that secure borders and a strong vetting process are necessary tools to defeating terrorism in the 21st century,” McKinley said in an emailed statement. “We must not allow anyone who wishes to do us harm to slip through the cracks.”

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said the order should not have surprised anyone.

“President Donald Trump made his concerns about immigration and security clear during his campaign,” he said in an emailed statement. “I support our president’s efforts to enforce the rule of law and secure our nation.”

See more from The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter