President Trump’s executive order restricting U.S. entry by travelers from seven countries drew varying reactions from the three legislators who represent Lakeland in Washington. Rep. Dennis Ross is in full support, while both of Florida’s U.S. senators warn of unintended consequences.
Rep. Dennis Ross, R
The Lakeland Republican, who was part of Trump’s transition team and last week announced some major committee appointments, stands firmly behind the president. Soon after the order was issued on Friday, he tweeted, “This is long overdue. We must ensure our country is safe from radical Islamic jihadists who want to kill Americans.”
Yesterday, he expanded in an email to The Ledger:
“President Trump is right to do all he can to ensure the safety and security of Americans until a system is in place to make certain those seeking to destroy our freedoms are not allowed in our country.”
Also yesterday Ross took to Twitter to point out what he considers hypocrisy from Democrats, quoting from then-President Jimmy Carter, “…We will not reissue visas, nor will we issue new visas.This directive will be interpreted very strictly.”
And he told The Ledger:
“Just as Presidents Carter and Obama and Secretary Clinton believed, and with ISIS in all corners of the globe, President Trump believes today that the same common sense security measures to protect the American people remain in order.”
As The Ledger notes, sanctions Carter placed on Iran during the hostage crisis that started in 1979 included invalidation of visas. And for six months during 2011, the Obama administration slowed the process for Iraqis wanting to enter the U.S.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R
Rubio issued a joint statement on Sunday with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., expressing unease about the impact of the 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.”
Sen. Bill Nelson, D
Nelson wrote a letter to President Trump on Monday saying the executive order “may do more harm than good:”
“Dear Mr. President:
I write to express my concern with your recent Executive Order, ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.’ Regardless of the constitutionality or legality of this Executive Order, I am deeply concerned that it may do more harm than good in our fight to keep America safe.
Defeating the diabolical threat of terrorism is imperative to our national security. Our military and intelligence professionals are engaged around the world in the fight against terrorist groups like ISIS. Our success in this fight, both at home and abroad, depends on the cooperation and assistance of Muslims who reject radicalism and violence. Whether intended or not, this Executive Order risks alienating the very people we rely upon in the fight against terror.
Over the weekend, numerous people were detained at U.S. ports of entry, including an Iraqi interpreter who served alongside our troops. When we promise sanctuary to individuals who risk their lives assisting U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism, it is both unfair and counterproductive to turn them away at our shores.
While we must do everything in our power to protect the United States, I am concerned this Executive Order will only undermine our counterterrorism efforts. I urge you to develop policy that keeps America safe, builds trust with our partners, and demonstrates compassion to those who need our help.”