Republicans who oppose, support Trump refugee order

President Trump's executive order to temporarily halt a federal program admitting refugees and others has sparked criticism from his party and confusion for security officials across the country.

The orders imposed a 90-day ban on the entry of nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It also indefinitely paused the entry of refugees from Syria.

Green card holders from the seven countries were initially denied entry on Saturday as officials sought to implement the order, though White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said Sunday that those with green cards would be allowed to come into the United States.

Trump defended the policies on Sunday, saying they did not constitute a ban on Muslims and arguing they were necessary to give the U.S. control over its borders and protect the country from terrorist threats. 

A number of GOP lawmakers have expressed concern or opposition over the administration's policies, which could raise pressure on Trump to make additional changes. Here's a look at the Republicans opposing, critical or supportive of the order.


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Alexander said in a statement to a local TV station that "this vetting proposal itself needed more vetting. More scrutiny of those traveling from war-torn countries to the United States is wise. But this broad and confusing order seems to ban legal, permanent residents with ‘green cards' ... And while not explicitly a religious test, it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character.”

Collins said Trump's executive order is "overly broad and implementing it will be immediately problematic." She added that "religious tests serve no useful purpose in the immigration process and run contrary to our American values." 

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Gardner said in a statement that while he supports strengthening the screening process "a blanket travel ban goes too far.”

"Lawful residents of the United States should be permitted to enter the country. I urge the Administration to take the appropriate steps to fix this overly broad executive order,” he said. 

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Graham, in a joint statement with Sen. John McCainJohn McCainSen. McCain goes on hike after cancer diagnosis Sen. Flake's GOP challenger: McCain should resign The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday, said the order wasn't "property vetted," and the two senators said they "fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism."

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)

McCain said the order has created a "very confusing process," adding, “I think the effect will probably in some areas give ISIS some more propaganda."

In a joint statement with Graham, he added, “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.” 

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Moran said in a statement that "while I support thorough vetting, I do not support restricting the rights of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Furthermore, far-reaching national security policy should always be devised in consultation with Congress and relevant government agencies."

Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.)

"The President is right to focus attention on the obvious fact that borders matter. At the same time, while not technically a Muslim ban, this order is too broad," Sasse said. 


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Barrasso said in a statement to The Washington Post that "a religious test or ban is against everything our country stands for. We need to remember that some of our best sources of information that keeps our nation and our troops safe comes from our Muslim friends and allies.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.)
Cassidy said in a Facebook post, "I am pleased to see that this order is being refined to address this and I look forward to it being further refined."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said in a statement that "this executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders. The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions."

Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa)
Ernst said in a statement that “there must be more clarity surrounding the order’s implementation. In our efforts to protect our nation from ISIS, we also must ensure we are not inadvertently penalizing our allies in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism — especially those who have supported U.S. military efforts in Iraq.”

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Flake said in a Medium post that while the Trump administration is "right to be concerned about national security ... it’s unacceptable when even legal permanent residents are being detained or turned away at airports and ports of entry." 

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Grassley said in a statement that "the goals of the Executive Order are commendable, and something President Trump promised during the campaign, but implementation will be key to ensuring the bad guys are kept out while remaining a welcoming nation to people of all backgrounds and religions."

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Hatch said the administration should "move to quickly tailor its policy on visa issuance as narrowly as possible, delivering on our security needs while reducing unnecessary burdens on the vast majority of visa seekers."

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"I share the president's desire to protect our nation from harm," Heller said on Twitter.  
"I agree that better vetting and border protection measures are necessary. That's why I support the thorough vetting of individuals entering our country. However, I am deeply troubled by the appearance of religious ban. The use of an overly broad executive order is not the way strengthen national security. I encourage the administration to partner with Congress to find a solution."

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“I think they need to clarify the confusion that’s out there on green cards and things like that. The people who are actually on the ground need to know exactly what it is they’re doing,” Isakson told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Sen. James Lankford (Okla.)

Lankford said on Twitter, “We should value freedom & not surrender security. We can protect the homeland while upholding #religiousfreedom & refuge for the persecuted." 

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Lee told the Salt Lake Tribune he does "have some technical questions about President Trump's Executive Order” and said he and his staff “will continue to reach out to the White House for clarification on these issues.”

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McConnell said "it's a good idea to tighten the vetting process, but I also think it's important to remember that some of our best sources in the war against radical Islamic terrorism are Muslims."

He did not specifically say he opposed the executive order, noting it would be up to the courts to decide if it's "gone too far."

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"Trump has made it clear that the security of Americans is his top priority,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I agree. I also believe we must strike a balance between national security and our values as Americans and that how we implement policy matters.”

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Portman told CNN that the executive order wasn't "properly vetted" and that the administration should "slow down."

“We ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security and again for this notion that America has always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants." 

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Roberts said he agreed that there needs to be a "better vetting process" but "we need to strike a balance that protects the rights of Americans and those permitted to enter the country legally. The president needs to work with Congress to ensure every aspect of a major policy change such as this is taken into consideration."

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In a statement with Sen. Tim ScottTim ScottTrump squeezes 'no' vote Heller at healthcare lunch The Hill's 12:30 Report Guess who’s stumping for states' rights? MORE (R-S.C.), Rubio said that while it’s clear “some of what is being said and reported about the scope and implications of these measures is misleading,” it’s “also clear that the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty.”

Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.)

In a statement, Scott and Rubio said they 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.”

They said they are both “committed to doing what we must to keep America safe” while also remaining “equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution.”

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Tillis posted a statement on Twitter that said “there is a lot of confusion surrounding the order” and said that implementation should be “refined to provide more clarity and mitigate unintended consequences that do not make our country any safer.”

My statement on the immigration executive order. #ncpol

— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) January 29, 2017


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Amash outlined his concerns in a string of tweets, arguing that while more refugee vetting is needed, "a blanket ban represents an extreme approach not consistent with our nation's values."

Rep. Mike Coffman (Colo.)

"While I've supported heightened vetting procedures, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds," Coffman said.

Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.)

"I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration," Dent told the Washington Post. 

Rep. John Faso (N.Y.)

Faso, who represents a swing district, is criticizing the drafting and implementation of the order. 

"After careful review of the recent executive order regarding immigration policy, I believe that the order was neither well drafted nor well implemented," he said in a statement. "Given recent events both here and abroad, we need to take steps to strengthen our nation's security; however, this is most effectively pursued through thoughtful and deliberative legislation. While I acknowledge that the president may act in the event of a national security threat or emergency situation, this process was rushed and led to confusion. There is no doubt that we need to thoroughly vet people coming from countries where there are strongholds of ISIS and al-Qaida. At the same time, we have to balance our security with the need to respect the rights of US citizens and people who are subject to valid immigration proceedings, including lawful permanent residents."

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)

Fitzpatrick said in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer that the order "entirely misses the mark." He added that, "while serious actions are needed to protect our country, these must not be done in a way that singles out any specific nations or ethnicities."

Rep. Will Hurd (Texas)

"This visa ban is the ultimate display of mistrust and will erode our allies' willingness to fight with us,” Hurd told CNN. “The ban also provides terrorists with another tool to gain sympathy and recruit new fighters."

Rep. Leonard Lance (N.J.)

Lance said in a Facebook post that the "executive order appears rushed and poorly implemented. Reports of green card holders and those who assisted us in the War on Terror being denied or delayed entry into the U.S. is deeply concerning and must be remedied immediately. It is Congress’ role to amend our immigration laws and I strongly urge President Trump to work with legislators to enact a clear, effective and enhanced vetting and monitoring process."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)

Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement that she opposes "the suspension of visas from the seven named countries because we could have accomplished our objective of keeping our homeland safe by immediate implementation of more thorough screening procedures."

Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) 

Sefanik wrote in a Facebook post that "our first role as the federal government is to protect our national security and I believe we need to work in Congress to reform and strengthen our visa vetting process. However, I oppose President Trump's rushed and overly broad Executive Order." 

Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.)

Upton said in a statement that he supports bolstering screening, but "this executive order needs to be scaled back. It has created real confusion for travelers and those who enforce the laws. A wiser course would have been to work with Congress to ensure that all visitors to our nation are properly vetted with appropriate documentation.”


Rep. Mike Bishop (Mich.)

Bishop said in a statement that while the administration is not able to properly vet refugees, "we need greater clarity from the administration to ensure this order is not carried out in a way that infringes on civil liberties and the protections guaranteed by our Constitution."

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.)

In a Sunday tweet, Curbelo said, “US permanent residents shouldn't be detained, deported, or discriminated against. They've already been thoroughly vetted #executiveorders.” 

He later added that he was "grateful" to see Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly say “the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest."

"Seems the @POTUS #executiveorders were hastily issued & need a lot of work," Curbelo said. 

Rep. Barbara Comstock (Va.)

Comstock said Trump's executive order "went beyond the increased vetting actions that Congress has supported on a bipartisan basis and inexplicably applied to green card holders. ... This should be addressed and corrected expeditiously." 

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Beutler said in a statement "surely there is a way to enhance the security at our borders without unnecessarily detaining innocent individuals who have followed the rules, stood in line, and pose no threat to our country, and I hope this Administration takes quick action to ensure that we’re focused only on those who pose a threat to our safety."

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Foxx noted that she supported a House bill to strengthen the vetting process but  said "the  Executive Order signed by the president on Friday came with little clarity and caused much uncertainty for foreign travelers. Additional implementing guidance is needed to ensure that the order can be applied in a fair and equitable manner."

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"This weekend’s confusion is an indication that the details of this executive order were not properly scrutinized,” Frelinghuysen in a statement. “Among others, reconsideration should be given to courageous individuals who served as interpreters for our military and properly vetted refugees."

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.)

Hultgren in a statement said the order "is overly broad and its interpretation has been inconsistent and confused." He said America must keep "our principles first by having "our arms open to those who are fleeing oppression and seeking safety."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)

Kinzinger wrote in a Medium post, "I support a comprehensive look at our vetting process. ... However, reports of green card holders and those who assisted us in the war on terror being denied or delayed entry is deeply concerning."

Rep. Raúl Labrador (Idaho)

Labrador called Trump's order a "sound policy" and criticized the media for calling it a Muslim ban. But he said permanent U.S. residents should not be denied entry and criticized the administration's rollout.



Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas)

“In light of the confusion and uncertainty created in the wake of the President’s Executive Order, it is clear adjustments are needed,” the House Homeland Security Committee chairman said in a statement.

“We should not simply turn away individuals who already have lawful U.S. visas or green cards—like those who have risked their lives serving alongside our forces overseas or who call America their home.”

He added that, “In the future, such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”

Rep. Dan Newhouse (Wash.)

Newhouse said in a statement that "the manner in which this Order is being implemented at airports and other points of entry appears that some innocent people... are having their lives needlessly disrupted. I encourage the administration to review its order in consultation with its national security team to ensure our enforcement resources are being targeted where they can be most effective."

Rep. Erik Paulsen (Minn.)

Paulsen said in a statement that he supports increasing oversight, but said "the President's executive order is too broad and has been poorly implemented and conceived. It is clear from the events this weekend that the executive order does not ensure that legal residents, including green card holders, and non-threats … are treated fairly and with the dignity they deserve."

Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.)

Sanford told a local newspaper, "I'm hearing a voice of concern 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."

Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio)
Stivers said he believes the vetting process must be improved, but, "I believe the executive order risks violating our nation's values and fails to differentiate mainstream Islamic partners from radical Islamic terrorists. ... I urge the administration to quickly replace this temporary order with permanent improvements."

Rep. Pat Tiberi (Ohio)

"There are questions that need to be answered on how it is being implemented,” he said in a statement. “Together with Congress, we should reevaluate our visa vetting process so that we effectively strengthen national security, uphold our values and protect our freedoms, while ensuring we are welcoming individuals and families fleeing persecution."

Senate (10)
Blunt told USA Today that Trump "is doing what he told the American people he would do. I do support increased vetting on people applying to travel from countries with extensive terrorist ties or activity. These seven countries meet that standard."

Sen. John BoozmanJohn BoozmanAn unlikely home in DC Lobbying World The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Ark.)

Boozman said in a statement that "our intelligence community and citizens in communities across Arkansas and the United States lack confidence in the programs we use to vet refugees fleeing from persecution and war-torn countries like Syria. We need reasonable measures that allow us to evaluate safety checks for people coming into our country.”

Cotton said "it's simply wrong to call the president’s executive order concerning immigration and refugees ‘a religious test’ of any kind. I doubt many Arkansans or Americans more broadly object to taking a harder look at foreigners coming into our country from war-torn nations with known terror networks."
Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.)
Daines said in a statement that "we need to take the time to examine our existing programs to ensure terrorists aren't entering our country. The safety of U.S. citizens must be our number one priority.” 

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"I believe a review of the refugee resettlement program is reasonable so that we ensure there is a strong vetting process in place to make sure America is safe,” Hoeven said in a statement, according to the Bismarck Tribune.

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Inhofe said in a statement that, "Trump's executive order follows through on the promise made on the campaign trail to secure our country and protect our citizens. This is not a Muslim ban, as the measure suspends all refugee administance for 120 days and suspends the issuance of visas to nationals of seven specific countries for 90 days."

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In a statement, Johnson said the executive order "makes common sense and I think the vast majority of Americans agree with that.

Sen. David Perdue (Ga.)

"This temporary pause will allow DHS to ensure the vetting process is improved," Perdue said in a statement.

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) 

Toomey said in a statement that he supports the administration's decision. He added while the "initial executive order was flawed... the administration has clarified that this order does not apply to Green Card holders and that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security have the ability to grant exceptions."
Young released the following statement:  

"The federal government has no more important responsibility than protecting the American people, and refugees from any country should only be permitted to enter the United States if we are certain they do not represent a threat to our citizens. I look forward to carefully analyzing this temporary executive order and its effects, and working with this new administration and my colleagues in Congress to keep America safe while finally ending the unspeakable suffering of the Syrian people.  I want to ensure that the administration's new policy allows Iraqis and Afghanis who faithfully supported our troops and who face threats to their safety -- and who do not represent a terrorist threat -- are able to come to the United States." 

House (44)
Rep. Ralph Abraham (La.)
Abraham tweeted, "On immigration, I stand w/ President @realDonaldTrump 100%. We must focus on protecting Americans first!" 
“Quite frankly, I think it is commonsense for additional vetting to occur for the countries that are home to ISIS and AL Qaeda," Aderholt said in a statement.

Rep. Rick Allen (Ga.)

Allen said in a statement that "first and foremost we must protect our homeland— the executive order does that— and keeps Americans safe until the legislative branch can reform our visa process and the vetting of refugees." 

Rep. Jodey Arrington (Texas)
Arrington told The Washington Post that “given concerns about the inadequate vetting of refugees and problems with our immigration system, this temporary pause is intended to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
Rep. Brian Babin (Texas)
Babin reacted to the executive order on Facebook, saying, "Great news — now let's get it into law!"
Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.)
A spokeswoman for Banks told USA Today, "Congressman Banks supports tightening the vetting process to ensure radical extremists who wish to harm American citizens cannot enter the United States. He is studying the president's executive order and hopes to learn more next week about how it is being implemented."
"I commend President Trump for suspending the refugee program, and in particular for Syria and the six other countries, because they are unquestionably terrorist havens and hotspots," Barletta said. 

Rep. Joe Barton (Texas)

Barton told McClatchy that he supported the ban, but, "We have heard of brief delays among constituents and are empathetic to any inconveniences while traveling." 

Rep. Rod Blum (Iowa)
Blum told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that "the bottom line is they can’t properly vet people coming from war-torn areas like Syria and Iraq. If we can’t vet people properly, then we shouldn’t be allowing them into our country. I’m supportive of that.”
Rep. Vern Buchanan (Fla.)
Buchanan called the executive order "long overdue," adding, "a freeze on Syrian refugees and a crackdown on sanctuary cities! Time to protect Americans.
"I support temporarily restricting the admittance of refugees and other travelers from these select areas until a verifiable system is in place to fully and completely vet whether or not the individuals admitted pose a threat to the safety of the American people," Bucshon told a local newspaper. 
Rep. Chris Collins (N.Y.)
Collins told a local NPR station that he supported the order, adding "I get a little frustrated with the folks who don't like Trump trying to make something into something it's not. So I'm just disappointed that we can't have a true and honest debate without someone inflaming the situation and claiming there's religious overtones."
Rep. Kevin Cramer (N.D.)
Rep. Dan Donovan (N.Y.)
"President Trump's decision is in America's best interest, and I support exploring safe zones in the region to protect innocent life," Donovan said in a statement.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (S.C.)
Duncan posted on Twitter: "I'm grateful that @realDonaldTrump is making the safety & security of the American people his top priority. His actions are very appropriate."

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Graves said the executive order its "prudent," adding that his is glad John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, "made it absolutely clear that this action is not meant to target immigrants who have become lawful permanent residents of our country.”

The House Judiciary chairman said in a statement that "Trump has begun to fulfill this responsibility by taking a number of critical steps within his authority to strengthen national security and the integrity of our nation’s immigration system."
Rep. Jody Hice (Ga.)

Hice told a local newspaper that "while we welcome refugees, I believe that the fundamental responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense, including ensuring those who reach our shores are first fully vetted through a reliable screening process.”

Rep. Clay Higgins (La.):

Higgins told a local TV station that "radical Islamic Terror should not be a partisan concern. The President's executive order for a short-term restriction on visa entry from 7 countries... that are known to foster terrorists... combined with a systematic review of our immigration and vetting procedure, is reasonable." 

Rep. Richard Hudson (N.C.)
Hudson told a local newspaper that "Trump is right to pause the flow of refugees from countries where terrorism is rampant until we can properly vet them and implement additional screening for individuals."
Rep. Bill Johnson (Ohio)
Johnson posted on Facebook that he backs the "temporary, three month, precautionary action directed towards a handful of countries with a history of producing and exporting terrorists. These countries are either torn apart by violence, or under the control of hostile, jihadist governments."
Rep. Peter King (N.Y.)

King told Newsday that he backs the executive order, saying "I don’t think the Constitution applies to people coming in from outside the country, especially if there is a logical basis for it."

"It is the federal government's responsibility to protect the American people, and the Trump administration is following through on that responsibility," McMorris Rogers said in a statement.
Rep. Luke Messer (Ind.)
Messer said the "details will of course matter, but it's way past time for us to develop this capability, and President Trump is right to prioritize American safety until we get this done."
Rep. Kristi Noem (S.D.): Noem said in a statement, "I support putting a temporary pause on accepting refugees from terrorist-held areas — at least until the administration can certify that asylum seekers do not present a safety threat."
Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.)

Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, called the order “a common-sense security measure to prevent terror attacks on the homeland. While accommodations should be made for green card holders and those who’ve assisted the U.S. armed forces, this is a useful temporary measure on seven nations of concern until we can verify who is entering the United States.”

Rep. John Ratcliffe (Texas)
"I applaud President Trump's actions to vamp up the vetting of refugees attempting to enter our country. ... I've been very vocal about the threats posed by the woeful inadequacy of our current screening process," Ratcliffe posted on Facebook. 
Reichert told a local radio station that "we must be absolutely certain we have systems in place capable of thoroughly vetting anyone applying for refugee status on American soil.”
Rep. Jim Renacci (Ohio):
Renacci said in a statement that "while I strongly encourage the administration to examine more closely whether it is effectual and necessary to subject green card holders from these nations to this temporary order, I fully support our government's renewed commitment to keeping Americans of all faiths safe and free across our homeland."
Rep. Todd Rokita (Ind.)
Rokita told an Indiana newspaper that "this is not a ban on Muslim refugees, as the order specifically targets a select few nations with known terrorist networks and is similar to an executive order signed by President Obama without controversy in 2011." 
Rep. Dennis Ross (Fla.)
Ross said "this is long overdue. We must ensure our country is safe from radical Islamic jihadists who want to kill Americans." 

Rep. Ed Royce (Calif.)

Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Washington Post that a pause of “refugees from terror hot spots is the right call to keep America safe,” but added, “I hope cases of individuals with visas traveling as this executive action went into effect — including some who served alongside U.S. troops — will be resolved quickly.”

Ryan was among the first to support the ban, with his office telling The Washington Post that "this is not a religious test and it is not a ban on people of any religion."
Rep. Steve Scalise (La.)
Scalise told Fox News that "it's very prudent to say, 'Let's be careful about who comes into our country to make sure that they're not terrorists.'"
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas)
Sessions said in a statement that "just as President Obama suspended the refugee program in 2011 for six months, the Trump Administration is working to protect national security by making adjustments in the refugee vetting process." 
Rep. John Shimkus (Ill.)

Shimkus said in a statement that "this temporary halt will give Congress and the new Administration time to evaluate and improve the vetting process, and in the meantime gives Secretary Kelly authority to grant exceptions to the restrictions as needed."

Rep. Scott Taylor (Va.)
Taylor said in a statement that "while I do not agree with some of the rhetoric, taking a pause, figuring out if we are properly vetting people, and making changes if necessary to continue our American principles is prudent and needed."
Rep. Dave Trott (Mich.)
Trott told the Detroit Free Press that "until we can adequately vet these refugees and ensure the safety of all Americans, I support President Trump's executive order to stay refugees from these terror-prone countries."
Rep. Jackie Walorski (Ind.)
Walorski told USA Today that she wanted "greater clarity" but added, "The temporary suspension of the refugee program and admission of individuals from countries where terrorism poses an elevated threat will allow our national security officials to examine the vetting process and strengthen safeguards to prevent terrorists from entering our homeland."
Williams told CNN that "President Trump is responsible for defending this country, and I think what we've seen in the last couple days with executive orders that he's passed, that's what he's doing."

Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.)

“I support the temporary entry restriction from certain nations until the administration, Congress and the American people know with confidence that any individual being granted admission does not pose a threat to our security," Zeldin said in a statement. 

"With all that being said, I will be closely monitoring the execution of this EO to make sure that any misapplication is corrected immediately.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas)

"I appreciate President Trump’s effort to protect innocent Americans from those who enter the United States to do us harm," Smith said in a statement. "We ought to take every reasonable step possible to protect the American people from terrorism." 

Katie Bo Williams contributed.

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