Georgia Lawmakers React To Refugee Ban

Jan 30, 2017

Update 1/30/17 9:30 p.m.

As of this evening, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle had the following comment on the immigration and refugee order:

"We are constantly reminded of the challenges and dangers we face as a free nation. I do not envy the decisions that must be made by our President, but I support him as our leader and trust that the decisions made are in the best interest of Americans.”

Original Post

As the dust settles on a weekend of activity kicked off by President Trump’s executive action barring refugees and restricting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, reactions from Georgia lawmakers are rolling in.

A pair of state senators took to the floor under the Gold Dome Monday morning to speak against the measure. 

 

“It is wrong and it is dangerous. Business leaders, faith leaders, those who believe in upholding constitutional rights, and people of good will are crying out to see that this is stopped,” said Sen. Nan Orrock.

 

Sen. Vincent Fort, who’s said he’ll make Atlanta a sanctuary city if he wins the mayor’s race in November, echoed the sentiment.

 

“When we, as Americans, violate our highest ideals. When we as Americans violate our ideals, terrorists win,” Fort said, expressing concern that the executive action would serve as a recruitment tool for groups like ISIS.

 

U.S. Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson have also expressed concerns about the ban. Both spent time at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport this weekend helping travellers detained by immigration authorities.

 

In the meantime, the action has received the support of some Georgia Republicans.

 

Former congressman and Trump supporter Jack Kingston argued the 120 day ban would help lawmakers craft smarter refugee policies.

 

“We’ll have a better focus on what works and what doesn’t work, and how do we prevent some of the problems that the European countries have had with refugee crisis,” Kingston said. “I think there are some lessons that have been learned outside the United States that could be helpful.”

 

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins also said the ban would provide an opportunity for a policy reset.

 

“It is possible to welcome refugees to our country while maintaining robust national security measures, and it is time to restore balance to this relationship by evaluating our entry processes in light of credible threats to our citizens,” Collins said.

 

U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter and Rick Allen also signaled their support Monday.

 

In the meantime, Republican lawmakers who work under the Gold Dome have been largely silent. 

 

The offices of Governor Nathan Deal and House Speaker David Ralston declined our requests for comment. Both said the executive action was a federal, not a state, matter.