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U.S. Senator James Lankford: Travel ban’s consequences “not well thought out”

OKLAHOMA CITY – Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford says President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration has “unintended consequences that were not well thought out.”

The junior senator from Oklahoma said in a statement Sunday that Trump’s staff should evaluate the policy with “an eye on both security and compassion for the refugees” fleeing war and persecution.

Lankford is a Baptist minister who sits on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He says protecting national security and helping refugees “are not mutually exclusive” goals.

Sen. Jim Inhofe released the following statement on the executive order:

“President Trump’s executive order follows through on the promise made on the campaign trail to secure our country and protect our citizens,” Inhofe said. “This is not a Muslim ban, as the measure suspends all refugee admittance for 120 days and suspends the issuance of visas to nationals of seven specific countries for 90 days. Time and again terrorists have stated their intent to infiltrate refugee populations in order to spread their ideology and terror throughout the West, as has already happened in Europe. Furthermore, the pause on visa applicants for countries that Congress and the Department of State and Homeland Security have determined as areas of concern to national security is reasonable given the unrest and state of instability in each of those countries. President Trump’s measures are temporary and will allow for the new administration to review and strengthen our immigration programs. The administration should have delayed implementation of this order so that the agencies, airlines and foreign travelers could have prepared and made arrangements in compliance, but I am confident these issues will be addressed swiftly to reduce confusion and uncertainty. The Trump administration is comprised of well-respected experts, and it is imperative that Senate Democrats immediately allow for the confirmation of his cabinet picks so that the President’s policies are well implemented. Throughout its history, the United States has been a beacon around the world for religious freedom and has welcomed those seeking refuge from persecution; our country will continue to be that beacon.”

Rep. Tom Cole says he believes the measure will ultimately protect Americans.

“President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily prohibiting immigration from seven countries previously identified as terrorist havens and/or state sponsors of terrorism is clearly intended to protect the American people,” Cole said. “The threat it seeks to contain is real. Indeed ISIL/ISIS has said it intends to slip terrorists into fleeing refugee populations and appears to have done so in the past.”

“However imperfect or uneven the initial implementation of President Trump’s order, the reaction against it has been all out of proportion to its intent and impact. Critics have described the order as a Muslim ban. It is not. It does not impact over 40 Muslim-majority countries. Some have claimed the order is illegal. It is not. While the courts will ultimately rule on this matter, it appears that the President is acting within the law and the recognized powers of the presidency. Some say the order is unprecedented. It is not. President Obama issued a similar “pause” on immigration from Iraq in 2011, while more intensive methods of vetting were devised and implemented to screen immigrants from that terror infested country. Finally, some have said the threat from these areas is minor. It is not. Indeed US forces are currently engaged in fighting terrorists in at least three of the countries in question- Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”

“It is fair and appropriate to debate the merits of President Trump’s executive order and its initial implementation. But it is inappropriate to engage in demagogic, inflammatory, inaccurate and reckless rhetoric that is designed to create and exploit a political issue rather than address a real threat to our security. I fear that is exactly what we are seeing from many of the President’s critics.”

Rep. Frank Lucas also released a statement, saying:

” Our country has a strong record of providing asylum to those fleeing war or oppression. However, we must also acknowledge that the world is a dangerous place. Far too many innocent civilians have fallen victim to organized terror attacks at home in their own communities. When the FBI Director indicates that there are vulnerabilities in our country’s ability to screen foreign entrants, the American people have a right to expect swift action by our government to remedy this issue.”

“Rather than asking in retrospect what we can do better in the aftermath of an attack, it’s the duty and responsibility of our government to tkae every realistic precaution to properly screen all individuals, especially those from countries that are havens or state-sponsors of terrorism. While I support the goal of President Trump’s executive order to strengthen America’s national security, I believe the administration must further clarify their long term objectives and the manner in which they intend to implement these new travel restrictions.”