What Your Lawmakers Say About Executive Action on Refugees

NBC 5 has been reaching out to your lawmakers regarding President Donald Trump’s Executive Action on refugees. 

We have asked for comments from the North Texas Delegation in Washington, D.C. and both senators.

Sen. Ted Cruz issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s recent executive order exclusively to NBC 5:

"We live in a dangerous world, and for eight long years the Obama administration remained willfully blind to the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, admitting tens of thousands of refugees whom the FBI expressly told Congress they could not be certain were not terrorists. That Obama policy made no sense, and it made America less safe. If we are serious about combating the threat of radical Islam, we must reform and strengthen our refugee programs to ensure proper vetting of those entering our country—especially when they are coming from nations that are hotbeds of terror. This is crucial to our national security and to protecting American lives, and it is a priority for which I have long advocated. 

"I commend President Trump for rejecting Obama's willful blindness, and for acting swiftly to try to prevent terrorists from infiltrating our refugee programs. In contrast to the hysteria and mistruths being pushed by the liberal media, President Trump’s executive order implements a four-month pause in refugee admissions so that stronger vetting procedures can be put in place. This is a commonsense step that the American people overwhelmingly support. The executive order also calls for the prioritization of religious minorities, a welcome change from an Obama administration that functionally discriminated against religious minorities, who are especially vulnerable to persecution and genocide.

"DHS Secretary John Kelly was just confirmed overwhelmingly, and I have confidence that he will provide the leadership needed to properly implement these reforms. I am already pleased to see him announce that some legitimate concerns about the non-refugee aspects of this order are being handled properly, and that lawful permanent residents will be given priority in entering the country.

"It is incumbent upon Congress to pass legislation to further assist in these efforts. Congress should pass the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Protection Act, to insure that all refugees are properly vetted. In addition, the executive order calls for greater influence from the states in this process, and the State Refugee Security Act that I just introduced with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) would do just that. Both bills are commonsense steps to keep us safe, and should be something that all senators and representatives, regardless of political party, can unite behind."

Senator John Cornyn:

"I'm glad they revised it to make sure that legal permanent residents would not be included unless there was derogatory information. I just think they got in a big hurry. But I also think that public that public safety is the number one responsibility of the federal government, so I certainly support the vetting of refugees and people coming into the country."

Here are the statements we have received from our representatives.

A spokesperson for Republican Congressman Joe Barton-6th District:

"Congressman Barton has heard from constituents experiencing delays. He will continue to review the Executive action this week with his colleagues in Washington."

Representative Michael Burgess, R-26th District:

"My top priority has always been to protect Americans at home and to do so by securing our borders. As he has made clear, President Trump is taking the steps well within his authority, and based off intelligence gathered in the Obama Administration, to keep our country safe. Congress should remain involved in the process and provide legislation to strengthen not only border security but vetting those who wish to enter the country through any means."

Representative Kay Granger, R-12th District:

"I am convinced that President Trump made the decision because he believes it will make us safer. I cut funding that would increase the number of refugees coming from Syria when I was briefed that we could not adequately vet that population before granting them refugee status to the United States. The job of the President is to defend and protect our nation. We must also protect our well-earned position as a caring and humanitarian nation. I pray that we do both."

Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-30th District:

“I stand in solidarity with the refugees, immigrants and their loved ones who are being banned from entering our country. This does not represent the America that is made up of immigrants or the values we cherish, one being freedom of religion.

“Yesterday across the nation and here at the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport many people were being detained and were not allowed entry into our country. This was all a result of the most recent executive action signed by President Trump banning individuals from seven dominant Muslim countries to enter our country. During this time there is a lot of confusion and families being torn apart. I am aware and waiting to be fully briefed on how many people are being detained at the D/FW airport, so my staff and I can fully provide assistance and guidance to those who need it.”

Representative Pete Sessions, R-32nd District:

“This morning I spoke with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings about passengers detained at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport as a result of the President’s executive order. We have confidence that officials from the Department of Homeland Security are working to comply with the executive order and any subsequent judicial action on this matter.

“I believe our first and foremost priority is to protect the American people and safeguard our homeland. Just as President Obama suspended the refugee program in 2011 for six months, the Trump Administration is working to protect national security by making adjustments in the refugee vetting process. It is critical that we address the threat of individuals who come to our country to create chaos and threaten our freedom.”

Representative Marc Veasey, D-33rd District:

"President Trump's latest executive action is already causing mass confusion for international airports nationwide. I have been in contact with all relevant agencies and I will continue to monitor the situation closely. I have heard reports of upwards of 50 detainees and I am traveling to DFW airport to gather more information. In the meantime, airport officials are providing cots, blankets, food and water to those detained. The Trump Administration’s refugee ban and their instruction to suspend entry from Muslim-majority countries is wholly un-American and challenges our country’s humanitarian leadership.”

Representative Roger Williams, R-25th District:

"The national security of the United States and its citizens is paramount to anything else. I firmly support a temporary travel ban on individuals from countries of concern- a designation given by the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security. During this time we must ensure our vetting process is completely foolproof."

Representative Sam Johnson, R-5th District:

“The number one priority of any president is to ensure the safety of all Americans. As a 29-year Air Force veteran who fought in two wars in the name of freedom, I appreciate that our new Commander-In-Chief is taking the safety of the American people seriously. As recent terrorists attacks both at home and abroad underscore, we must do everything in our power to ensure we don’t let terrorists slip through the cracks.”

Representative Jeb Hensarling, R-5th District:

“President Trump made clear that keeping America safe is a top priority for his Administration, and it is refreshing to see that he is willing to take swift and decisive action to achieve that goal. And, while the rollout of his executive action could have gone more smoothly, I believe most Americans, and particularly the East Texans I represent, would agree that it’s just common sense to take a closer look at people trying to enter the U.S. from nations with broad terrorist networks.

“In fact, more than a year ago Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, a bill that placed a higher threshold for entry into our nation. The legislation blocked people who have traveled since 2011 to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria from entering the United States through our Visa Waiver Program—no matter their country of citizenship. Several months later, the Obama Administration added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to that list. These seven countries, are the exact same countries included in President Trump’s executive order. And, while critics claim this temporary pause in immigration amounts to a Muslim ban, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, more than 40 countries with Muslim majorities were not included on President Trump’s list at all.

“America is a nation of immigrants, and should continue to be. Although we can’t take in the world, we should strive to find places for people who come here legally, seeking freedom and opportunity. But, we need to make sure those seeking to come to America mean us no harm.

“In the coming days and weeks, Congress should exercise its responsibility to take a careful look at the underlying policies to ensure they are effective in achieving the goal of making America safer and preventing terrorists from coming to our shores.”

Representative John Ratcliffe, R-4th District.

“I support President Trump's actions to vamp up the vetting of refugees attempting to enter our country. As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, I've been very vocal about the threats posed by the woeful inadequacy of our current screening process – because there's simply too much at stake to allow individuals with radical ties to slip through the cracks. I am hopeful that the outcome of this pause and review of our vetting procedures will result in actionable modifications to keep America safe.”

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