Despite outrage across the country over President Donald Trump‘s immigration executive order that bars immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., few members of the Republican Party in Washington D.C. have spoken against it. So far, just over 30 of the 292 elected members of the president’s own party have issued statements opposing all or part of it.
The executive order bars any immigrant from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. All refugees from these seven, Muslim-majority countries are banned from entering for 120 days and all Syrian refugees are barred from entering indefinitely.
The two highest-ranking Republicans outside the White House, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, haven’t commented on the ban. “This is not a religious test and it is not a ban on people of any religion,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told the Washington Post.
Here is the list of Republican Senators and House members who have voiced opposition to Trump’s ban. The list will be updated when more statements are issued.
1 & 2. Senators John McCain & Lindsey Graham
In a joint statement released by Senator John McCain’s office, McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham said that the executive order will only embolden terrorists and will do more harm than good. The two also said it was clear that the order was implemented too hastily, causing confusion at airports around the world on January 28. Graham has said that he didn’t vote for Trump, while McCain didn’t say who he voted for president.
Here is McCain and Graham’s complete statement:
“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation.
“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.
“Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.
“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
On Twitter, Trump directly responded to McCain and Graham’s statement.
3. Rep. Charlie Dent
Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania called the ban “ridiculous” in an interview with the Washington Post. His district includes a large Syrian community in Allentown and told the Post that he heard from a voter whose family wasturned away at Philadelphia International Airport even though they had visas and already bought a house in his state.
“I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration. You know, there are many, many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for many innocent, vulnerable people around the world,” Dent told the Post, adding, “This family was sent home despite having all their paperwork in order. So this 90-day ban could imperil the lives of this family and potentially others, and it’s unacceptable, and I urge the administration to halt enforcement of this order until a more thoughtful and deliberate policy can be reinstated.”
4. Senator Jeff Flake
Jeff Flake, McCain’s colleague in the Senate from Arizona, criticized the ban on Medium. Flake has been critical of Trump’s immigration policies, even before Trump became president. Flake’s statement reads:
President Trump and his administration are right to be concerned about national security, but it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry. Enhancing long term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed view of radical Islamic terrorism without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslims.
5. Rep. Justin Amash
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan posted a long statement on Twitter. He was particularly disappointed with green card holders not being allowed into the U.S. “Green card holders live in the United States as our neighbors and serve in our Armed Forces. They deserve better,” Amash wrote. He called for Trump to work with Congress, citing President Barack Obama’s immigration exectuive orders as past examples of executive overreach.
Like Pres. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, Pres. Trump’s executive order overreaches and undermines our constitutional system. It’s not lawful to ban immigrants on 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. Green card holders live in the United States as our neighbors and serve in our Armed Forces. They deserve better. 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 EO allows admittance of immigrants, nonimmigrants, and refugees “on a case-by-case basis,” arbitrariness would violate Rule of Law. [The Executive Order] appears to be more about politics than safety. If concern is radicalism/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. We must ensure U.S. remains dedicated to Constitution, Rule of Law, and liberty. Capitalism creates prosperity and improves assimilation.
On January 29, Amash further wrote that, “It’s not lawful to ban immigrants b/c of ‘nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.’ This 1965 law limits 1952 law Trump cites.” He then posted a link to the 1965 law that reads, “No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
6. Senator Ben Sasse
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Trump’s executive order “too broad” and suggested that it could provide another motive for terrorists.
“The President is right to focus attention on the obvious fact that borders matter. At the same time, while not technically a Muslim ban, this order is too broad. There are two ways to lose our generational battle against jihadism by losing touch with reality. The first is to keep pretending that jihadi terrorism has no connection to Islam or to certain countries. That’s been a disaster. And here’s the second way to fail: If we send a signal to the Middle East that the U.S. sees all Muslims as jihadis, the terrorist recruiters win by telling kids that America is banning Muslims and that this is America versus one religion. Both approaches are wrong, and both will make us less safe. Our generational fight against jihadism requires wisdom.”
7. Senator Mike Lee
Utah Senator Mike Lee, who once asked Trump to quit the race for the White House, told the St. Louis Tribune that he has “technical questions” about the executive order. During the campaign, Lee was critical of Trump’s Muslim ban, calling it a “religious test.”
Lee said on January 28:
National security is always the federal government’s top priority, so I am pleased that the White House is focused on protecting the American people. I do have some technical questions about President Trump’s Executive Order titled ‘Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.’ My staff and I will continue to reach out to the White House for clarification on these issues.
8. Senator Orrin Hatch
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah’s other Senator, came out against the part of the order that bars green card holders from the seven countries from re-entering the country.
9. Rep. Mike Coffman
Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado posted a short statement on Twitter.
While I’ve supported heightened vetting procedures, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban, for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds.
10. Senator Susan Collins
Senator Susan Collins of Maine said that a religious test runs “contrary to our American values.” She added, “The United States remains the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, and we should continue to aid those who are assisting refugees in neighboring countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.”
11. Rep. Barbara Comstock
Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia said that she thinks it’s unconstitutional to ban people based on religion, but supports “increased vetting based on national security concerns.”
12. Sen. Cory Gardner
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, called the order “overly broad.”
13. Rep. Carlos Curbuelo
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican from Florida, wrote on Twitter that, “US permanent residents shouldn’t be detained, deported, or discriminated against. They’ve already been thoroughly vetted.”
14. Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois wrote a lengthy statement on Medium that reads:
National security is paramount, and the first job of the federal government is to protect the American people. The President’s recent executive order has caused confusion among those asked to enforce it, and recent media reports have muddled facts and fiction. I urge the Administration to clarify the specifics on what should and should not be done to best protect our homeland, our people, and our communities.
I support a comprehensive look at our vetting process, and I believe it’s something every new administration would be expected to do. However, reports of green card holders and those who assisted us in the war on terror being denied or delayed entry is deeply concerning. Such detention is unacceptable and must be remedied immediately.
We are in a generational fight against radical Islamist terrorism. Winning the war on terror cannot be done by America alone. We must be joined by allies in the Muslim world, and with the support of other freedom-loving nations.
15. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Miami, Florida, specifically “objected” to the suspension of visas from the seven countries. She issued the following statements to the Miami Herald:
I object to the suspension of visas from the seven named countries because we could have accomplished our objective of keeping our homeland safe by immediate implementation of more thorough screening procedures. I do note, however, that at least some individuals will continue to be admitted during this suspension period on a case by case basis and that the suspension period is temporary. In no case should this order be applied to individuals to whom visas have already been issued or who are already permanent legal US residents.
Both the letter and the spirit of the rule of law, on which our liberties rest, require that we honor legal commitments and procedures established by law, including existing visas and approved refugee status, absent specific articulable reasons for reversing a prior decision. The new Administration needs to pay careful attention to crafting orders that honor existing legal commitments and existing law, in contrast to this broad brush approach which doesn’t focus on the precise problems.
16. Rep. Elise Stefanik
Rep. Elise Stefanik, whose district covers much of Upstate New York, issued the following statement on Facebook:
Our first role as the federal government is to protect our national security and I believe we need to work in Congress to reform and strengthen our visa vetting process. However, I oppose President Trump’s rushed and overly broad Executive Order. On the House Armed Services Committee, I have advocated for Iraqi and Afghans who have served side by side as our allies to be prioritized to access visas. It is Congress’ role to write our immigration laws and I strongly urge the President to work with Congress moving forward as we reform our immigration system to strengthen our homeland security.
17. Senator James Lankford
Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma issued a short statement on Twitter.
We should value freedom & not surrender security. We can protect the homeland while upholding #religiousfreedom & refuge for the persecuted.
18. Senator Rob Portman
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio used the “extreme vetting” phrase against Trump in his critique of the order while on CNN’s State of the Union. You can watch the complete interview above.
“This was an extreme vetting program that wasn’t properly vetted,” Portman, who took back his support for Trump before the November election, told CNN. He insisted that Congress needs to be a part of immigration policy. “We ought to be part of it. We’ve been working on this.”
Still, Portman criticized the visa program, adding that there is “not adequate screening, particularly on our visa waiver program, so I do think we need to tighten things up.”
19. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania posted the following statement on Facebook:
For a decade and a half, I served this country as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent supporting global counterterrorism efforts and working to keep our communities safe. When it came to this mission, we were focused on solutions, not engaging in partisan attacks or declaring a singular fix to a complicated issue.
While we certainly need to enhance our current vetting process and significantly reform our immigration policies to make sure terrorists are not exploiting our nation’s proud tradition of freedom and acceptance, the President’s policy entirely misses the mark. The reality is, terrorism inspired by radicalism and hate is global in scope and, as such, requires a comprehensive response, not a purely regional focus. While serious actions are needed to protect our country, these must not be done in a way that singles out any specific nations or ethnicities.
Terrorists have shown a propensity to simply change their tactics to exploit short-term fixes. It’s time we work together to address the root causes of these threats.
20. Rep. Michael McCaul
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued a statement, saying that the U.S. shouldn’t turn away anyone with a visa or green card. However, he stressed that the executive order shouldn’t be referred to as a “Muslim Ban.”
“In light of the confusion and uncertainty created in the wake of the President’s Executive Order, it is clear adjustments are needed. We should not simply turn away individuals who already have lawful U.S. visas or green cards—like those who have risked their lives serving alongside our forces overseas or who call America their home. We must be focused instead on putting in place tougher screening measures to weed out terror suspects while facilitating the entry of peaceful, freedom-loving people of all religions who see the United States as a beacon of hope. In the future, such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”
“At the same time, it is deeply irresponsible to characterize this Executive Order as a ‘Muslim ban.’ It is not. The order puts a pause on refugee admissions and temporarily halts immigration from seven countries, each of which was already designated by the Obama Administration as an area of terror concern. The U.S. government has paused immigration from specific countries in the past in order to implement additional measures to prevent terrorist infiltration of our homeland. I have offered advice to President Trump on how to develop better, common-sense security checks for immigrants and refugees, and as the Administration weighs next steps, I will press for responsible screening policies that keep Americans safe while upholding our values.”
21. Rep. Jason Chaffetz
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah told reporters that he thinks targeting based on religion is “wrong,” but he supports the idea “that vetting from certain countries is needed.”
22. Rep. Jeff Denham
The safety and security of our communities always come first, but the way this recent executive order is playing out has created a lot of uncertainty and unintended consequences. As we have seen with previous administrations, EOs are not the way to resolve ongoing problems.
23. Rep. Scott Tipton
Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado posted on Facebook:
I am concerned about the confusion that Friday’s executive order has created for U.S. green card holders and permanent residents. I support enhanced security screening for individuals who are traveling to the U.S. from countries that have been identified as terrorist hotbeds, and I believe we need to affirm that an individual isn’t a security threat before we allow them to enter our country. I encourage 3rd District green card holders and permanent residents who have been adversely impacted by the confusion about the executive order to contact my office, so my team and I can provide assistance. We can be reached in Washington, DC, at 202-225-4761; Grand Junction at (970) 241-2499; Durango at (970) 259-1490; Pueblo at (719) 542-1073; and Alamosa at (719) 587-5105.
24. Rep. Susan Brooks
Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana wrote:
“Keeping our country safe should be our top priority, and I agree that we must do more to improve our vetting process for foreign nationals and refugees who wish to come to our country, especially from places where terrorist organizations are active and governments are unstable or nonexistent. We know that jihadists and terrorists are using our immigration and refugee resettlement programs to infiltrate and attack our homeland. It is up to us to ensure that their efforts to do so are unsuccessful, and increased scrutiny of people traveling to the United States from such places is one way to accomplish this goal. However, I do not believe in discrimination, I do not support a religious test for immigrants or refugees, and I do support our nation’s refugee resettlement program. America is a nation of immigrants, and our diversity has always been one of our greatest strengths. I join my colleagues in Congress in calling on the Administration for more information and clarity around the impact of the temporary provisions in the executive order on people who already have visas or who have previously been granted legal status.”
25. Rep. Jerry Moran
Rep. Jerry Moran of Kansas was among several members from Missouri and Kansas to issue statements to KansasCity.com.
Keeping Americans safe should be our federal government’s top priority. Strengthening our immigration system is critical to that end, and it’s common sense to have appropriate vetting procedures in place for individuals wishing to travel to our country. While I support thorough vetting, I do not support restricting the rights of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies.
26. Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas told KansasCity.com that President Trump needs to work with Congress when it comes to immigration.
I agree with President Trump that we need a major overhaul of our immigration system and a better vetting process for those entering our nation. One attack on our shores like those in Paris and Brussels is one too many. We have also seen too many crimes committed by illegal immigrants that should never have been in our country in the first place. However, we need to strike a balance that protects the rights of Americans and those permitted to enter the country legally. The president needs to work with Congress to ensure every aspect of a major policy change such as this is taken into consideration.
27. Rep. Erik Paulson
Rep. Erik Paulson of Minnesota wrote on Facebook:
I support thorough vetting of those entering our country from countries and regions posing a serious threat to Americans. But this vetting must be applied responsibly and thoughtfully, and appropriately target those who are a national security risk. Unfortunately, the President’s executive order is too broad and has been poorly implemented and conceived. It is clear from the events this weekend that the executive order does not ensure that legal residents, including green card holders, and non-threats, such as those who served alongside the American military in Iraq, are treated fairly and with the dignity they deserve.
28. Senator Dean Heller
Senator Dean Heller posted a statement on Twitter. He was “deeply troubled by the appearance of a religious ban.”
29. Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen
New Jersey Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen posted on Facebook:
“As part of his strategy to make the safety and security of the American people his top priority, President Trump believes a pause in immigration from unstable regions is warranted. However, this weekend’s confusion is an indication that the details of this executive order were not properly scrutinized. Among others, reconsideration should be given to courageous individuals who served as interpreters for our military and properly vetted refugees.
“Congress has important oversight responsibilities over all executive orders, which we intend to exercise.”
30. Rep. Leonard Lance
Rep. Leonard Lance was the first New Jersey Republican to speak out against the immigration order by sending a statement to NJ.com.
“While I do support increased vetting of individuals applying to travel from countries with extensive terrorist ties or activity, the president’s current travel ban executive order appears rushed and poorly implemented,” Lance told the site. “Reports of green card holders and those who assisted us in the War on Terror being denied or delayed entry into the U.S. is deeply concerning and must be remedied immediately.”
31. Rep. John J. Fasso
Rep. John J. Fasso of New York wrote:
“After careful review of the recent executive order regarding immigration policy, I believe that the order was neither well drafted nor well implemented. Given recent events both here and abroad, we need to take steps to strengthen our nation’s security; however, this is most effectively pursued through thoughtful and deliberative legislation. While I acknowledge that the president may act in the event of a national security threat or emergency situation, this process was rushed and led to confusion. There is no doubt that we need to thoroughly vet people coming from countries where there are strongholds of ISIS and al-Qaida. At the same time, we have to balance our security with the need to respect the rights of US citizens and people who are subject to valid immigration proceedings, including lawful permanent residents.”
32. Rep. John Katko
Rep. John Katko is another New York Congressman who spoke out against the ban, although he told AuburnPub.com that he still supports proper vetting.
“In this heightened threat environment, we must be ever vigilant to ensure all individuals entering this country are properly vetted. I believe the president’s intent was to accomplish that goal. However, I have concerns with this executive order, including the fact that it could potentially deny entrance to our country to lawful, permanent residents and dual citizens,” Katko said.
33. Rep. Dave Joyce
Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio posted the following statement on Twitter:
34. Rep. Steve Stivers
Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio issued this statement:
“While I agree with the President that we must improve our visa vetting process in order to better protect Americans, I believe the executive order risks violating our nation’s values and fails to differentiate mainstream Islamic partners from radical Islamic terrorists – setting back our fight against radical Islam,” Stivers said. “I urge the Administration to quickly replace this temporary order with permanent improvements in the visa vetting process.”
35. Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee posted the following message.
“This vetting proposal itself needed more vetting. More scrutiny of those traveling from war-torn countries to the United States is wise. But this broad and confusing order seems to ban legal, permanent residents with ‘green cards,’ and might turn away Iraqis, for example, who were translators and helped save lives of American troops and who could be killed if they stay in Iraq. And while not explicitly a religious test, it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character.”
36. Rep. Will Hurd
According to the Texas Tribune, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas was the only Texas Republican to stand with Democrats to oppose the executive order.