Travel ban reactions: Florida's elected officials respond to President Trump's executive action

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 07:20:13-05

President Trump signed an executive order Friday night to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations out for three months. 

READ MORE | Trump travel ban: Here's what you need to know

The move has stirred up many questions and a lot of controversy, but where do the lawmakers of Florida stand on the issue? How do Florida's elected officials feel about President Trump's travel ban?

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in a joint statement with South Carolina's Tim Scott:

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.

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson:

"We have to do everything we can to protect ourselves from those who want to do us harm, but a hastily-issued policy that bans everyone from one of these seven countries from entering the U.S.  including the Iraqi interpreters who served alongside our troops in Iraq  is not the answer."

9th Congressional District Representative Darren Soto:

Congressman Darren Soto believes this executive order is unnecessary, unconstitutional and un-American. Federal courts across the nation agree and have already begun to declare it unlawful. He will do everything in his power under the law as a US representative to fight what is in effect as a Muslim ban.

11th Congressional District Representative Daniel Webster:

President Trump made it clear on the campaign that this was a priority.  I am thankful to see President Trump is taking his responsibility to protect our country seriously and putting Americans’ safety first. I agree with the President that prior to issuing visas or refugee admissions, we must ensure our vetting process is thorough. President Obama acted similarly when he paused the processing of Iraqi refugee visas for six months in 2011.

“I look forward to working with President Trump, his administration and my colleagues in Congress to establish clearly defined improvements to our visa issuance and refugee admissions process. I am confident we can protect our homeland while remaining the compassionate nation we are to those who are tired, poor, yearning to breathe free or seeking refuge from persecution.

12th Congressional District Representative Gus Bilirakis:

As the grandson of immigrants, I believe America has held, and must continue to hold, the longstanding tradition of welcoming those who are willing to work hard and contribute to our nation. I also believe, in a world of emerging threats to our country, we should have increased vetting of those entering our borders based on national security concerns--consistent with the bipartisan legislation I supported in the House last year. The issue of green card holders, legal permanent residents, being detained at airports should absolutely be addressed and corrected quickly. As my staff and I look into David and Fatemeh's case, any constituents dealing with individual problems with visas or traveling abroad should reach out to my office and we will do everything we can to help.

14th Congressional District Representative Kathy Castor:

President Trump's executive order targeting and banning legal permanent residents and refugees from war-torn areas is illegal, immoral and un-American.  It has made us less safe.  If the President wants to empower jihadists, this is the way to do it.
I am in contact with local refugee assistance agencies to monitor circumstances of families who may have been in transit.  I will remain vigilant and do everything possible to ensure America continues to provide safe haven to victims of torture and persecution as our country has done since its founding.
It is outrageous that President Trump has created a religious test and banned well-vetted victims of the Syrian civil war.  America's current vetting process is the most stringent in the world.  Banning Muslims, Iraqis and others who have assisted the U.S. military will empower our terrorist foes. Facts matter.  Trump is taking our country down a dangerous path based on disinformation and discrimination.

15th Congressional District Representative Dennis A. Ross:

Conveniently, the painful truth to some, and what is not being reported, is that President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton banned all Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011, all in the name of national security. President Carter invalidated Iranian Visas in 1980. The real question is why was the left silent then? Why are similar actions to keep us safe today being criticized by the left? The reason is obvious: there are those on the left that want to discredit and destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump, and the sooner the better from their perspective. 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. 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.

16th Congressional District Representative Vern Buchanan:

The President’s executive order puts the safety of Americans first. Intelligence officials have made clear that terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West. We need to stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security. I’m hopeful the administration will swiftly resolve any issues involving individuals with green cards as well as military interpreters who bravely served alongside our troops.

13th Congressional District Representative Charlie Crist:

“Our number one priority is to keep America safe. But we must also ensure that America continues to be the beacon of light and hope to the world. These policies are not mutually exclusive. We can and should take steps to improve our vetting processes, while also allowing refugees fleeing persecution to seek a better life in the U.S.

“The confusion and fear created by the lack of coordination around this Executive Order is shocking and deeply troubling. It also appears the so-called religious test it would implement is unconstitutional. The administration needs to rethink this strategy immediately.”

For more information on the travel ban and what it means, click here.


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