Most members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation have now commented on President Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entry to the United States.
On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan stood by the president’s travel restrictions. The Janesville Republican issued a statement in support of the action. “Our number one responsibility is to protect the homeland. We are a compassionate nation, and I support the refugee resettlement program, but it’s time to reevaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process.”
Ryan remained silent over the weekend, which saw chaotic implementation of the order at many of the nation’s airports. Critics point to a tweet Ryan made last July, in which he rejected a religious test for entering the U.S. While the president’s order is not an outright ban on Muslim immigration, it gives Christians and refugees of other minority religions priority over Muslims — which appears to amount to a religious test.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, tweeted on Suday. “Travel ban will make ISIS stronger, weaken counterterrorism and cost lives.”
Representative Ron Kind voiced similar concerns in a statement issued on Monday. “Instead of helping keep our country safe it will jeopardize our national security by giving ISIS and other terror groups another recruitment tool and making it harder for our allies in Muslim nations to work with us on counter-terrorism operations,” the La Crosse Democrat wrote. Kind called on the president to immediately rescind the order.
Representative Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Milwaukee, called the order “xenophobic” in a statement issued Monday. “These anti-American actions have no place in our culture and are indicative of the overwhelming influence of nationalism that continues to permeate this administration and its policies.”
“President Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise to re-evaluate our visa vetting process so that the American people are safe from terrorism,” said Representative Sean Duffy, a Republican representing northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.
Madison Democrat, Representative Mark Pocan, tweeted on Friday that “closing our borders to refugees fleeing devastation and war is morally indefensible.’ Pocan also linked to a tweet made by Vice-President Mike Pence in December of 2015, in which Pence called proposals to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “offensive and unconstitutional.”
As of Monday afternoon, GOP U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Republican House members Glenn Grothman and Mike Gallagher had not commented.