Members of Congress from Missouri and Kansas are reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries:
▪ Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas:
“Keeping Americans safe should be our federal government’s top priority. Strengthening our immigration system is critical to that end, and it’s common sense to have appropriate vetting procedures in place for individuals wishing to travel to our country. While I support thorough vetting, I do not support restricting the rights of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies.”
▪ Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican and former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee:
“I agree with President Trump that we need a major overhaul of our immigration system and a better vetting process for those entering our nation. One attack on our shores like those in Paris and Brussels is one too many. We have also seen too many crimes committed by illegal immigrants that should never have been in our country in the first place. However, we need to strike a balance that protects the rights of Americans and those permitted to enter the country legally. The president needs to work with Congress to ensure every aspect of a major policy change such as this is taken into consideration.”
▪ Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican:
“While the (executive) order may need some tweaking to address concerns about green card holders and those with visas caught in transit, I appreciate President Trump’s steps to ensure the safety of American families. There is no higher priority. It is imperative we thoroughly vet those who are coming into our country. The Obama Administration implemented a similar policy in 2011 amid concerns of terrorist entry into our country, and Congress has passed legislation to address these concerns. We must prioritize Americans’ safety and well being above all else.”
▪ Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and former mayor of Kansas City:
“People here with whom I’ve been speaking the last two days don’t like for me to say this, but you know we are revealing ourselves to the world one executive order at a time, and the truth is and maybe it’s a bit unfair to criticize President Trump too fiercely, because he told the nation what he was going to do if elected and he is simply following through on his pledges,” Cleaver said. “And if they are ugly today they were ugly months ago when he was saying it.
“There’s an outcry now, which I actually celebrate, but it would have been infinitely better if this massive outcry had taken place this last summer. People laughed and said, ‘Hey this is crazy, nobody’s going to believe this.’ And we wake up on Nov. 9 and we have President Trump.”
Cleaver plans to host a town hall meeting in Kansas City next Saturday with immigration lawyers from around the country. He’s also working to establish a sanctuary network of 1,000 churches across the country.
▪ Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican from Johnson County:
“We must be both a compassionate nation and a nation that keeps its citizens safe and we must find common ground to achieve both missions. Reforming and strengthening our vetting system is a necessary and important step to continuing the long legacy of refugees coming to America. The President should have our nation’s support to carry out his mission to protect our nation’s borders, but he must do so without unnecessarily burdening lawful entrants into the United States or discriminating against specific religions.
“It’s clear the order is being interpreted too broadly to block valid visas and green card holders. While a temporary pause in new admissions is appropriate — the President should work with Congress to come up with clear procedures to ensure that our refugee program can continue in the safest manner possible.”
▪ Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from Kansas:
“There is no question that we need to strengthen our borders to ensure the safety of every American. While I understand President Trump’s intentions, this Executive Order was painted too broadly. I encourage President Trump to work with Congress to strengthen our borders and vetting process.”
▪ Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri:
“The President is doing something that people have seen too little of in recent years,” Blunt said in a statement. “He is doing what he told the American people he would do. I would not support a travel ban on Muslims; I do support increased vetting on people applying to travel from countries with extensive terrorist ties or activity. These seven countries meet that standard. Our top priority should be to keep Americans safe.”
▪ Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri:
“As ranking member of Homeland Security I have serious questions to ask about the decree from President Trump that certain children from certain countries, based on certain religion, are no longer welcome in our country. And the notion that our government would then prioritize one religion for admittance to our nation flies in the face of our sacred value of liberty and freedom of religion.”