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Local lawmakers back travel ban

After a tumultuous weekend, several local representatives and Pennsylvania senators stepped forward Monday and Tuesday with statements backing President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven countries.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-9th District, and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-5th District, said they support the ban, which halts refugee admissions for 120 days and turns away travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries in Africa and the Middle East.

“The safety and security of the American people is my top priority. I support President Trump’s recent efforts to refine our vetting process,” Shuster said in a pair of Twitter posts Tuesday afternoon. “We cannot afford to get this wrong, not even once out of thousands of applications.”

Thompson, too, said he supports the executive order, which has spurred confusion and disagreement among government agencies and in the federal judiciary.

“We want to guarantee that each individual entering the U.S. is properly vetted, so we’re not importing possible terrorists or those who would support terrorism,” he said, arguing that the order was intended to help vet new arrivals from the affected countries.

Thompson said the order has had the unintended consequence, however, of affecting lawful permanent residents — commonly known as green card holders. The ruling left green card holders detained at airports across the country, prompting protests in many cities.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., broke his weekend silence Monday with a statement backing the order and noting that the flood of refugees into Europe — primarily overland from war-torn Syria via Greece — has affected security there. Toomey said the initial order was “flawed” but praised Trump’s administration for clarifying some aspects.

Advocates have noted that no refugees from the affected nations — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya — have attacked the United States in decades.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer defended the policy and said it shouldn’t be labeled a “travel ban.”

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.

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