By Robert Pittenger
You probably heard from the liberal media this week about President Trump’s “outrageous” executive order on immigration. But before we get too caught up in the bluster and propaganda, let’s pause to examine the facts versus the fiction.
Fiction: The executive order is a “Muslim ban.”
Fact: The order temporarily delays the processing of additional temporary and permanent immigration statuses for a period of 90 days for citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. These countries are facing enormous security challenges due to radical Islamic terrorists and were originally identified as “countries of concern” by President Obama.
There are more than 40 majority Muslim countries, including Indonesia and Pakistan, the world’s two most populous Muslim countries, which weren’t included. Furthermore, the order contains an exception to allow the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for known allies.
Fiction: The executive order bans all refugees.
Fact: The order temporarily suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. Previous Presidents have placed similar restrictions on refugee admittance in an effort to improve the vetting process and adjust the cap on refugee admissions into the United States to address national security concerns.
Fiction: The executive order bans green card holders and other legal permanent residents.
Fact: Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly clarified this order will not ban legal permanent residents from entering the country: “Absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”
My office remains committed to assisting any constituents who have questions regarding this order or need assistance with issues involving visas, immigration, passports and other federal agencies.
While it is important for America to be responsive to those persecuted for their faith or impacted by war, it is imperative that we achieve this through a full and thorough vetting of all refugees.
We know for a fact that terrorists are trying to infiltrate our country through the refugee program. This Executive Order is about ensuring our national security while we conduct a comprehensive review of our vetting process.
In 2015, I was a co-sponsor of the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act (H.R. 4038), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support. This common sense legislation would have required the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security to be engaged in the refugee vetting process to prevent access by infiltrated terrorists. President Trump’s executive order might not have been necessary had Senate Democrats and President Obama worked with a bipartisan House majority to make this common sense bill law.
As chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, protecting our homeland is of the utmost importance to me.
THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON
This week, President Trump selected Judge Neil Gorsuch to be his nominee for the Supreme Court. Few, if any, judges are as qualified to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. Judge Gorsuch adheres to the original intent of the writers of the Constitution and believes the role of the court is not to make the law, but to interpret the law. His disciplined understanding of separation of powers is a refreshing contrast to progressives who have interpreted a living document, which would ebb and flow with cultural trends.
Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) is chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, and serves on the House Financial Services Committee, with a special focus on supporting small businesses, community banks, and credit unions.