Donald Trump

Philadelphia-Area Politicians Respond to President Donald Trump's Immigration & Travel Ban

Many Philadelphia-area political leaders have come out in opposition of President Trump's temporary ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, while others expressed their support.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., released a statement Monday morning backing the administration's decision to "increase vetting and temporarily suspend the admission of certain individuals from states that sponsor or provide safe havens to terrorists."

But, Toomey questioned the order calling it "flawed" as "it was too broad and poorly explained."

"It is crucial that our nation strike the right balance between defending our people against the deadly threat of international terrorism and providing a safe haven for innocent refugees seeking peace and freedom," he said. "I have long been concerned about our ability to distinguish between predominantly peaceful and innocent refugees, and the likely rare, but lethal, terrorists in the midst of those refugees coming from terror havens and lawless lands."

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Toomey's counterpart Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., opposes Trump's executive order and says it won't ensure safety in America.

"This reported executive action is contrary to our values and our security," Casey said Friday in a statement. "Preventing these vulnerable people from resettling in the U.S. as refugees does nothing to make our nation safer. Further, lowering the level of overall resettlement will make it harder on our allies who are already absorbing the bulk of the refugees fleeing conflicts around the world. This reported executive action appears to be driven by politics and discrimination, not by recommendations from national security professionals."

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, D-NJ, agrees with fellow Democrat Casey.

"National security experts from across agencies and political parties have repeatedly affirmed that refugees are already the most aggressively vetted category of people coming to the United States and top Pentagon officials tell us this ban will be used as a rallying cry for violent extremist movements seeking to attack Americans and American interests," Menendez said.

Fellow New Jerseyan, Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, said Friday "President Trump's fundamentally un-American executive order today stands in painful contrast to our ideals." [[412182223, C]]

Other senators representing people in the greater Philadelphia region expressed their discontent with the immigration ban.

U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Del., labels it as "illegal, unconstitutional and un-American," and believes it feeds on to ISIS's mission.

"I frankly think it will be a propaganda bonanza for ISIS," he said. "It has outraged a number of our close allies on whom we are relying to be our partners on the war on terror, and it has sent the wrong message to our allies around the world about what we stand for as a country."

U.S. Senator Tom Harper, D-Del., said the ban "jeopardizes our nation's ability to lead the world."

"President Trump's ban on immigrants from Muslim countries is wrong and jeopardizes our nation’s ability to lead the world with moral clarity," he said. "We can make Americans safer without categorically denying safe haven for those who need our help the most." [[412059543, C]]

Governors John Carney, D-Del., and Tom Wolf. D-Pa., also oppose the executive order.

Gov. Carney suggested the nation should help refugees instead of turning them away.

"That is part of our duty as Americans. And we should not impose a religious test on anyone attempting to gain access to our country, which was founded on ideals of liberty and religious freedom," he said.

Wolf said the ban does not align with Pennsylvania's values -- let alone America's.

"This is not who we are," Wolf said. "Pennsylvania is a place of welcome. The United States was set up to be a place where people could escape oppression; this is not a place where people come to experience oppression."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and Trump supporter, didn't immediately make a statement about Trump's executive order.

Several congressmen, however, were vocal about their stances.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-NJ-6th, came out in support of the ban, saying the security of Americans "must come first as we combat radical Islamic terrorism." 

"This is a temporary pause in the refugee resettlement program so that we may strengthen the screening process to prevent Islamic jihadists from coming to our country to attack us," said the South Jersey congressman Monday.

Also aligned with the belief that Americans should be kept safe, Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa. 6th, expressed his support for a "comprehensive review" of people coming into the U.S., but "green card holders and those assisting us in the war on terror should not be denied entry," he said.

Fellow U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.-15th, said that Americans should be kept safe but that he doesn't agree with the way it is being done.

"This order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration to the wide-ranging impacts it will have," Dent said. "As a result, I fear that this order may imperil lives, divide families, and create uncertainty for many American businesses that operate internationally."

Philadelphia-based Rep. Bob Brady, D- Pa.-1, took offense to Trump's immigration ban.

"It is outrageous that after they were apparently vetted for years, and finally having been approved for permanent residency in this country these families were held and returned to a third country within hours of deplaning," Brady said. "This action may be a death sentence for them and is another example of how brain dead policy is dangerous and destructive."

Delaware's lone state representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., quoted a famous icon to show solidarity with the Muslim refugee community impacted by the executive order.

"The Statue of Liberty famously reads, 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.' It's an inscription that reminds us of the values and ideals our democracy was built on, and inspires us to continue fighting for those values every day," she said. "President Trump's executive order goes against those values and greatly threatens our national security. We should be opening our arms to refugees fleeing war-torn countries, regardless of their religion, not banning them."

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