Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma
Published January 31, 2017
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and one of two American Indians in the 115th Congress, released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily restricting persons entering the United States from seven nations: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. These nations have been known to harbor terrorism and to have been compromised by terrorism.
“President Trump’s recent executive order temporarily prohibiting immigration from seven countries previously identified as terrorist havens and/or state sponsors of terrorism is clearly intended to protect the American people,” said Cole. “The threat it seeks to contain is real. Indeed ISIL/ISIS has said it intends to slip terrorists into fleeing refugee populations and appears to have done so in the past.”
“However imperfect or uneven the initial implementation of President Trump’s order, the reaction against it has been all out of proportion to its intent and impact,” continued Cole.
“Critics have described the order as a Muslim ban. It is not. It does not impact over 40 Muslim-majority countries. Some have claimed the order is illegal. It is not. While the courts will ultimately rule on this matter, it appears that the President is acting within the law and the recognized powers of the presidency.”
“Some say the order is unprecedented. It is not. President Obama issued a similar “pause” on immigration from Iraq in 2011, while more intensive methods of vetting were devised and implemented to screen immigrants from that terror infested country. Finally, some have said the threat from these areas is minor. It is not. Indeed US forces are currently engaged in fighting terrorists in at least three of the countries in question – Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”
“It is fair and appropriate to debate the merits of President Trump’s executive order and its initial implementation. But it is inappropriate to engage in demagogic, inflammatory, inaccurate and reckless rhetoric that is designed to create and exploit a political issue rather than address a real threat to our security. I fear that is exactly what we are seeing from many of the President’s critics.”