WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two local Republican Congressmen had very different reactions to an executive order on immigrants and refugees.
On Friday, President Donald Trump announced an executive order intended to prevent terrorists from entering the United States.
According to The Associated Press, the action triggered mass confusion and chaos worldwide, split families and set off protests at airports across the country. GOP congressional leadership was frozen out of the drafting of the measure, and House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged he didn’t find out the details until Friday as Trump was signing the order to shut off the Syrian refugee program indefinitely and halt the U.S. refugee program and all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash represents Michigan’s 3rd District, which covers portions of Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. Amash blasted the executive order, saying the action both overreached and undermined the nation’s Constitution.
“Like President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, President Trump’s executive order overreaches and undermines our constitutional system,” Amash said. “It’s not lawful to ban immigrants on the basis of nationality. If the president wants to change immigration law, he must work with Congress.
“The president’s denial of entry to lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) is particularly troubling,” Amash added. “Green card holders live in the United States as our neighbors and serve in our Armed Forces. They deserve better.
“I agree with the president that we must do much more to properly vet refugees, but a blanket ban represents an extreme approach not consistent with our nation’s values. While the executive order allows the admittance of immigrants, nonimmigrants, and refugees “on a case-by-case basis,” arbitrariness would violate the Rule of Law.
“Ultimately, the executive order appears to be more about politics than safety. If the concern is radicalism and terrorism, then what about Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and others?
“Finally, we can’t effectively fight homegrown Islamic radicalism by perpetuating us vs. them mindset that terrorists use to recruit,” Amash concluded. “We must ensure that the United States remains dedicated to the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and liberty. It can’t be stated strongly enough that capitalism creates prosperity and improves assimilation into society.”
U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar represents Michigan’s 4th District, which includes Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta and Montcalm counties, among others. Moolenaar offered a more neutral reaction to Trump’s executive order:
“It is important that our country have screening processes that identify and prohibit terrorists from entering our country,” Moolenaar said. “The House passed bipartisan legislation in November of 2015 to put such processes into law. It is important that we secure our border while allowing for an orderly process for law abiding refugees to come to America, the shining city on a hill and a beacon of hope for people around the world.
“Additionally, those who have followed the law to earn visas or green cards, especially those who have worked with our military in defense of our nation should not be blocked from entering the country,” Moolenaar said. “Defending the American people from threats abroad is the federal government’s primary responsibility and one I take very seriously in my role as a public servant. I hope clarifications will be made to ensure our country is protecting the American people and upholding the values we cherish.”