Few RI GOP Leaders Speak Out on Trump’s Immigration Order

Monday, January 30, 2017

 

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President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration has drawn strong opposition -- and little response from the RI GOP.

Thousands of Rhode Islanders took to the State House on Sunday in opposition to President Donald Trump’s recently issued executive order on immigration — but few Republican politicians responded when asked if they support, or oppose, the measure. 

“President Trump signed an executive order protecting the United States from foreign nationals entering from countries compromised by terrorism, and ensuring a more rigorous vetting process,” the White House touted on Friday, on the move by the President to restrict immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, suspend all refugee admission for 120 days, and bar all Syrian refugees indefinitely. 

“I have always tried to use Executive Orders sparingly to create ad hoc committees, lower city flags, and for municipal processes but have shied away from using them to legislate," said Republican Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. "And having criticized others for using them to legislate, I would oppose using them in this manner."

In addition to Avedisian, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung issued a statement on Sunday (see below). GoLocal reached out to all Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly, as well as Republican Party Chair Brandon Bell, as to whether they support— or oppose — Trump’s executive order. 

None responded to the question on Sunday. 

Protests, Fast Moving Changes

Protests took place at airports and around the country over the weekend, after travelers were detained following the executive order; multiple sources reported that judges in at least five states were blocking federal authorities — but that none of the rulings struck down the executive order. 

“As the son of immigrants who came to this country from China to live the American Dream, President Trump's executive order hits me hard and I have concerns," said Fung. "First and foremost, I do support a fair and thorough vetting process for immigrants to get to America legally. But, I am concerned about the unintended consequences from this executive order. I'm troubled at the lack of notice for families in transit and for detaining legal green card holders. People who have been living here legally with Green Cards or followed the rules to work or study in the United States should not be detained or deported based on their religion or country of origin."

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Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

“It appears as though this executive order was rolled out quickly, far too quickly in my opinion, and did not go through proper vetting," Fung continued. "We all know how botched roll outs go in this state, and often leads to a lot of anguish and needless suffering. While I whole-heartedly support sensible reforms, and think we need to strengthen our borders greatly, immigration and national security are complex problems that should not be rushed.”

Reuters reported on Sunday that White House officials clarified their position to say that green card holders from the seven Muslim-majority countries would be allowed back in with additional screening measures.  

And while thousands rallied at the Rhode Island State House in opposition to Trump’s measure, Trump took to Facebook Sunday afternoon to issue a statement regarding the recent executive order "concerning extreme vetting."

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave.

We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.

This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.

I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”

SLIDES: Trump Rally in Warwick, April 2016

 

Related Slideshow: Trump Rally in Warwick Rhode Island, April, 2016

Photography by Richard McCaffrey

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