GOP Rep Urges Halt To Trump’s Executive Order Banning Refugees

AP

A Republican lawmaker whose district has one of the largest Syrian refugee populations in the country on Saturday called for a halt on President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from certain countries from entering the U.S.

“I urge the administration to halt enforcement of this order until a more thoughtful and deliberate policy can be instated,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin.

Trump’s Friday executive order banned all refugees from entering the country for 120 days, and prohibited the entry of people from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Sudan and Libya for 90 days, even if they held U.S. green cards. Refugees, graduate students, Google employees and others caught unawares by the immediate implementation of the order were left stranded abroad or detained at points of entry across the U.S.

A six-person Christian family arriving from Syria emailed Dent on Saturday morning to tell him that they had been detained at Philadelphia International Airport, according to the Times. The family said they had legal paperwork, green cards, and visas needed to enter the country.

Dent has expressed concern for Syrian refugees in the past, saying Americans must have “compassion” for displaced people “escaping a desperate situation.” But, like Trump, Dent has also warned that some people processed as refugees may actually be terrorists.

At a GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia this week, Dent told Bloomberg said he would “be anxious if there’s a restriction on all refugees from Syria,” noting that many refugees are Christian. Dent added that most of the Syrians who live in his district are also Christian.

Most Republican leaders have kept quiet about the order. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told the Washington Post Saturday that the order, which exclusively affects majority-Muslim countries, does not amount to a Muslim ban. Ryan said last year that he would “reject” such a ban as it “is not reflective of America’s fundamental values.”

Democratic lawmakers have condemned the order as a cover for religious discrimination that would endanger the lives of tens of thousands displaced by war and terrorism.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the order “backwards and nasty.” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), an Iraq War veteran, implicated congressional Republicans for going along with Trump’s agenda, saying, “I hope you are proud of yourselves.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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