Politics & Government

Here's where SC congressmen stand on Trump's immigration order


Most members of Congress representing South Carolina have weighed in on the executive order signed by President Trump on Friday that temporarily bans immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, though a few members remain silent on the issue.

Here's where they stand:

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham, R-SC and Sen. John McCain, R-AZ., released a joint statement Sunday.

“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.”

Sen. Tim Scott

Sen. Scott, R-SC, released a joint statement Sunday along with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL

“After reviewing the recent Executive Orders, it is clear to us that some of what is being said and reported about the scope and implications of these measures is misleading. However, it is also clear that the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of the last few days.

We generally support additional vetting for many of those entering our country from nations where the United States has identified there are serious concerns regarding terrorist activities and planning. But given the broad scope and nature of these policy changes, we have some unanswered questions and concerns.

We are seeking clarity on the changes to the Visa Waiver program, which is critical to the economies of our respective states.

And we are uneasy about the potential impact of these measures on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us.

We are both committed to doing what we must to keep America safe. We are equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution. Like so many Americans, we are both guided by our belief that when we stand before our Creator to face judgment, He will say that “to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

That is why we intend to do all we can to both keep America safe, and keep America special.

Rep. Jeff Duncan

Rep. Duncan, R-SC, has been a vocal supporter of the executive order on social media throughout the weekend.

Initially, Duncan posted Saturday morning that the "actions are being massively mischaracterized by the left" with the full text of the executive order, which can be found here.

Later he posted:

“Background checks and waiting periods are not ok (sic), according to liberals, for people wanting to come to the US from countries which harbor jihadists.”

And on Sunday, Duncan wrote a lengthy post that said he's “seen more distortion, hyperbole, and outright lies about President Trump’s national security executive order from Democrats and the media over the past few days than I have seen on about any other issue since I came to Congress.”

He then said he'd expressed his concern about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and the need to “avoid repeating Europe's mistakes by reviewing our immigration and refugee resettlement program” even before attacks on Nice, France, Paris and Berlin. He said Syria concerned him in particular because “it is impossible to properly vet someone from Syria due to the ongoing civil war.”

He said Trump's action does not create a Muslim ban, only suspended the refugee resettlement program (other than from Syria, which it ended), and that the program would give a needed increase to assist Christian refugees, who he said were underrepresented in the resettlement program under President Obama. The “refugee program has long sought to help religious and ethnic minorities because they are at a higher risk of persecution,” he said.

Duncan's full statement can be read here.

Rep. Trey Gowdy

Rep. Gowdy, R-SC, issued a statement Monday morning.

“Our nation has a long and rich history of welcoming those fleeing persecution. We also have a long and rich history of liberating those suffering under oppression. We are the most welcoming and generous country in the world, and we are a country of immigrants.”

“The world we find ourselves in is dangerous and becoming increasingly so. Since national security and public safety are the preeminent functions of government, there is a fundamental duty to ensure the necessary background investigations can be done to stop anyone intent on doing harm from exploiting Americans’ generosity and taking more innocent lives.”

“American people deserve border and interior security. They deserve to know who is coming to our country, for what purpose, and for how long. They deserve to be assured those seeking entry into the country - regardless of the length of stay - have been vetted thoroughly and do not represent a security risk.”

“I am committed to doing everything we can to keep Americans safe just as I am committed to defending religious liberty and providing refuge to those fleeing persecution.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn

Rep. Clyburn, D-SC, issued a statement as a series of posts on Twitter on Sunday.

“Acceptance of all religious backgrounds and nationalities is the core of what this country stands for. That must not change,” he said, followed by a second post that said, “Democracy & equality are the foundations of this country. Citizens should never be barred, forced to leave, threatened or intimidated.”

Rep. Joe Wilson

Rep. Wilson, R-SC, issued a statement Monday that said:

“I support the President’s efforts to secure our borders and keep American families safe from terrorist attacks by pausing the refugee program to provide necessary improvements to the vetting process. I plan to work quickly in Congress and with the Administration to reinforce providing expedited waivers for interpreters that have assisted the U.S. Military.

“I urge everyone to examine the facts behind the executive order:

“Terrorists have pledged to infiltrate the refugee program to kill American families on our soil

“In 2011, the Obama Administration paused the refugee program for six months to address security flaws in our vetting process

“The countries identified were named to the watch list under President Obama for failing to have functioning government agencies which could correctly identify civilians

“Over the past year, I supported bipartisan initiatives to improve our vetting process, and will continue to advance legislation to protect American families.”

Rep. Mark Sanford

Rep. Sanford, R-SC, told the Charleston Post and Courier on Sunday that he'd heard a voice of concern from constituents “that things are moving from weird to reckless in their view.”

"And that even if you're going to enact this policy, the way in which it was done just seems bizarre."

He said members of Congress hadn't been given a customary notice that the executive action was imminent.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney

Rep. Mulvaney, R-SC, who is Trump's choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, hadn't said anything publicly about the executive action.

Rep. Tom Rice

Rep. Rice, R-SC, didn't offer an opinion on the action, but posted a National Review article on his Facebook page titled “Separating Fact from Hysteria on Trump Refugee Order.”

"Interesting Article which provides a little deeper analysis of President Trump's immigration order.

What do you think?"