Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress says he supports President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries.
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23), who was an early supporter of Trump’s bid for president and serves on his transition team, told reporters via a conference call on Monday that the executive order will help to ensure the security of American citizens.
“what the president is doing is making sure that American Citizens’ safety is first and foremost as we deal with this issue of refugees and folks that are coming from terrorist hot spots in the world,” Reed said. “I think this list of nations is a reasonable list and I believe the president has narrowed it to those spots that have demonstrated known terrorist activities and threats to America.”
The executive order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — or at least 218 million people, based on 2015 data published by the World Bank — from entering the United States. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as “countries of concern.”
Notably absent from the list is Saudi Arabia, which is where 15 of the 19 hijackers from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks were from. Saudi Arabia is also where president Trump has several business interests. Reed said he thinks the seven nations included in the order are reasonable.
“Anywhere that there is extreme radical Islamic activity I am obviously concerned, but to go by a nation-by-nation listing, I think this list – these seven nations – is reasonable and clearly, are hotbeds of terrorist activity over the years,” Reed said. “So, rather than go one-by-one, I think the president’s actions here was putting American citizens’ safety first, and he identified the areas of most hotly embedded terrorist activity.”
Reed also said that he has heard concerns from constituents in the district, along with Universities that have students who may be from the seven countries listed.
“We have had our office reach out to all the universities in the district and we want them to know that we are here to assist them through this process,” Reed said. “The other advice is that I would make sure they confirm that the paperwork is in order and we can help with that process, if they want to contact our office. That was the message I delivered to the universities in the district.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that temporarily stopped the admittance of nationals from seven countries. Protests ensued in several U.S. airports after a number of refugees and people were stopped and detained for a period of time. Confusion emanated over who was safe while several U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle – including New York Senator Chuck Schumer – came out to denounce the president’s action.