Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Some Republicans question Trump's immigration order

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 1:00 AM
Franklyn Saumell protests against United States President Donald Trump’s refugee ban at Miami International Airport yesterday.

WASHINGTON (AP):

United States President Donald Trump's immigration order is getting pushback from some Republicans in Congress, even as officials from Trump's administration insist it's a small price to pay to keep the nation safe.

Senator Rob Portman,

R-Ohio, said yesterday that it would be best for the new president to "slow down" and work with lawmakers on how best to tighten screening for foreigners who enter the United States.

Portman said everyone should "take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security" and reflects the fact that "'America's always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants". He said America is "this beacon of hope and opportunity for the rest of the world" and should remain that way.

The comments came the morning after a federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the US from deporting people from seven majority Muslim nations subject to Trump's travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.

LITTLE IMPACT FROM RULING

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early yesterday that said the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of

the White House order and it affected a relatively small number of travelers who were inconvenienced by security procedures upon their return. Trump's aides insist the judgment has

little impact.

Trump's order, which also suspends the US refugee programme for 120 days and bars the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely, has sparked major protests, including at several of the nation's international airports. It also puts Republicans who criticised Trump's initial campaign proposal to block foreign Muslims from entering the country in a tough spot.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said he supports more stringent screening mechanisms, but cautioned that Muslims are some of the country's "best sources in the war against terror".

"I think it's a good idea to tighten the vetting process, but I also think it's important to remember that some of our best sources in the war against radical Islamic terrorism are Muslims, both in this country and overseas," he said.

He stressed the need "to be careful as we do this," and said it would be up to the courts to decide "whether or not this has gone too far".

Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to defend his actions, and his aides insisted the new measures were a small price to pay to keep the nation safe.

"Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW," Trump wrote. "Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world - a horrible mess!"