Reed has Trump’s back

Immigration order OK with congressman

“This is a discretion that the president can utilize. We’re still going to be the land of the free. We’re still going to be the land that welcomes people.” U.S. Rep. Tom Reed

Halting the flow of immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries has U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s support.

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 others were stopped and detained for a period of time.

Confusion ensued over who was safe while several U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle came out to denounce the president’s action.

On Monday, Reed responded to the executive order during a media call. Reed, R-Corning, told reporters the safety and security of Americans is first and foremost while the nations on the list are reasonable given they’re known for terrorist activity.

“This is something that has been done in the past under President Barack Obama. Previous presidents have done it,” Reed said. “This is a discretion that the president can utilize. We’re still going to be the land of the free. We’re still going to be the land that welcomes people.”

Despite reported criticism over the exclusion of countries like Saudi Arabia, Reed said the president’s action identified areas hotly imbedded with terrorist activity. While he admitted it could have been handled better in terms of proactiveness and preparatory work, Reed said Trump is honoring his commitment to put America’s safety at the top of the list.

“As we see the horrific events just in Canada (on Monday), this threat is real and it needs to be dealt with,” he said. “My hope is we take this pause and we come together to make sure we recognize what we’re trying to do, and that’s to keep fellow Americans safe.”

Concerns also grew over international students’ security in the U.S. Reed said he reached out to universities in the congressional district and informed them of resources available through his office. Reed noted the order doesn’t ban Muslims from emigrating to the U.S., nor does it restrict those with green cards from traveling despite reports of confusion and people being stopped.

“We want to make sure those who are entering our country do so in a way to make sure that vetting occurs and any threats are identified and dealt with,” he said.

Reed’s office says the order parallels to the American Safety Against Foreign Enemies Act. Legislation passed last year at the behest of U.S. intelligence agencies following hearings which indicated a lack of records for refugees could be exploited by Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists.

The bill granted the Federal Bureau of Investigation take necessary action to ensure each immigrant from Iraq or Syria receive a background investigation before admission into the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security also conducts such screenings.

Reed acknowledged the executive order doesn’t increase security threats for Americans both home and abroad. That’s contrary to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who said it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who “will do us harm.”

Schumer asked the Senate to vote on a bill to overturn the president’s executive order Monday. With teary eyes, Schumer, D-N.Y., said the executive order was mean-spirited and un-American.

“I will claw, scrap and fight with every fiber of my being until these orders are overturned,” he said.