OCEAN COUNTY – The Senators and Congressmen who represent Ocean County are mixed in their statements on President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily suspends immigration from seven nations and indefinitely suspends acceptance of refugees from Syria.
Each of the three Republican Congressman with districts that represent areas Ocean County issued their respective statements, with mixed support of Trump’s executive order, saying the process created confusion but that ultimately national security was at stake.
Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02, which includes southernmost Ocean County) said in his statement that while the security of the nation comes first, Trump’s execution was hasty with consequences that were “avoidable.”
“The security of our nation and safety of Americans must come first as we combat radical Islamic terrorism. This is a temporary pause in the refugee resettlement program so that we may strengthen the screening process to prevent Islamic jihadists from coming to our country to attack us. The hasty execution of such efforts have created wide-spread confusion, frustration and misrepresentation of what America stands for,” LoBiondo said. “This was avoidable and I urge the Trump Administration, working with appropriate federal, state and local agencies, to quickly reassess.”
Congressman Tom MacArthur, who represents such areas as Toms River, Berkeley and Brick in Ocean County, said he applauds the President’s action but said the implementation could have been better.
“Our process for vetting refugees has been dangerously flawed and must be fixed. We must be right every time because our enemies only need for us to be wrong once,” said MacArthur, in a statement released January 30. “The President’s first responsibility is to keep Americans safe, and while I believe this could have been implemented better, I applaud him for acting. Our new president deserves the chance to make our country safer and I will work in Congress to help the Administration settle on a long-term fix that protects our people and our values.
And Congressman Chris Smith, whose district includes most of Monmouth County but also Jackson and Manchester in Ocean County, called the order a “pause” before implementing an better vetting system.
“While the Executive Order was initially poorly implemented, leading to confusion and fear—especially for green card holders from the seven countries previously identified by Congress and the Obama Administration as countries of concern—the assessment from the FBI that there are gaps in data when vetting refugees from conflict zones cannot be ignored,” wrote Smith in his statement. “The reports that ISIS has smuggled more than 4,000 covert operatives into Western nations hidden among innocent refugees also cannot be discounted.”
Smith continued: “The executive order is a pause as we find a way to secure and protect Americans while acting with compassion for humanitarian refugees. I believe that a balanced immigration process can be implemented that achieves a necessarily-enhanced vetting process for those who seek refuge in the US while protecting Americans to the greatest extent possible from acts of terrorism.”
New Jersey’s Senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, each Democrats, denounced the executive order in separate statements released since the ban went in to effect January 27.
“This Executive Order violates our values and assaults our moral standing as a nation. I will fight this, we must fight this,” Booker tweeted soon after the executive order was announced, also releasing a video statement on social media.
The next day, Menendez released his statement in strong opposition.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Trump’s action has undermined the core values that built this country. It is profoundly un-American to turn away those fleeing horrific violence and persecution or to discriminate against people based on nationality and religion. More than half of the millions of vulnerable citizens seeking refuge from Syria are children, who are today trapped between a brutal regime and violent extremist groups,” Menendez wrote, saying the order is essentially a ban on Muslims.