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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

An Executive Protection

February 7, 2017
Weekly Columns
During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump stated that he was in favor of banning Muslims from coming to the United States. To quote: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
 
When I was asked my opinion of such a ban I stated that one of the founding principles of the United States is religious liberty, and that banning people from coming to the United States on the basis of their religious faith alone would be a violation of our ideals, traditions and basic instincts as a people. And in my opinion, such a proposal would be both unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American.
 
It is important, however, to point out that what candidate Trump proposed in December 2015 is very different from what President Donald Trump recently enacted through his executive order which temporarily restricts entry of any refugee awaiting resettlement into the United States for 120 days from seven specific nations -. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. These are nations that are known breeding grounds for terrorism.  They are nations which refuse to cooperate in the vetting process or to otherwise help in the fight against terrorism. This travel moratorium is prudent and necessary to prevent terrorists from entering our country under the guise of refugees.
 
It is unfortunate that some in the media and some of President Trump’s political opponents insist on referring to this policy as a “ban on Muslims.” It is most definitely not. Of the forty seven countries with majority Muslim populations, the top six are not included in the travel ban. Indeed, forty one nations with majority Muslim populations are unaffected by the travel ban. To suggest that this is a blanket ban on travel to the United States by Muslims is a complete fabrication.
 
The United States should never ban access to our shores on the basis of religious affiliation. Ours should be a welcoming nation that opens its arms to people of every race, nationality and religion. But we also owe it to our citizens to protect them from people and nations who wish them harm. President Trump’s temporary ban on travelers from seven specific nations is not xenophobic, it’s not racist, and it’s not contrary to traditional American values.  It’s a reflection of what we should expect from our President - to put the safety and security of the American people ahead of all other considerations. 
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