Hultgren criticizes immigration ban, Roskam stays silent
Breaking ranks with GOP leaders, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren criticized President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees from entering the U.S. and restricting travel for people from seven Muslim-majority countries as "overly broad" and lacking compassion.
"We should have our arms open to those who are fleeing oppression and seeking safety, not turning them away at the door," the Plano Republican said in a statement Monday.
His fellow suburban Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam did not return phone calls or emails requesting comment on the executive order, which disrupted O'Hare International Airport over the weekend as protesters demanded the release of travelers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody. At least 18 people were detained and questioned Saturday.
Democratic lawmakers are calling for hearings into how the Department of Homeland Security handled the situation and pushing for legislation to rescind the policy.
"This Muslim ban must end," U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth said in a statement. Trump has denied his policy targets Muslims.
Hultgren supports strengthening security policies but said vetting of refugees was already extensive and thorough.
The interpretation of Trump's order was "inconsistent and confused," which caused "unintended consequences, like the barring of legal permanent residents and the rejection of Syrian Christians at the airport," Hultgren said.
Trump said it is vital to protect Americans from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorism in the U.S. He halted refugee arrivals for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely, and restricted entry for people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The order also caused mass confusion about the status of legal permanent residents with green cards.
Although Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Sunday stated he found "the entry of permanent residents to be in the national interests," U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat, said companies in the high-tech I-88 corridor are calling him, worried about the status of green-card holders who want to travel.
"I'm not sure what reassurance to give to people from India or Pakistan or many other countries about whether it's safe to leave. It's very hard to reassure people about the future actions of this administration," Foster said.
Foster and U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat, are supporting legislation to rescind the president's order by cutting funding to carry it out, although it's uncertain if sufficient votes exist in the House. Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin backs the policy.
Democratic U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin of Springfield and Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates asked the DHS inspector general to conduct an investigation into what they called its chaotic implementation and the "unwarranted and unjust" detentions of lawful permanent residents at O'Hare.
Krishnamoorthi, who unsuccessfully tried to talk to Customs and Border Protection staff Saturday at O'Hare, agreed. "I think a lot of rank and file did not know what was going on," he said.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, whose district includes O'Hare, added that "even if someone imagined this was a good idea the vetting of it was wildly insufficient."