WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, today praised the Trump Administration’s efforts to take reasonable and responsible steps to address our porous borders and broken immigration system in a speech on the Senate floor.
“Taking the fundamental steps to protect our homeland does not diminish the fact that we are a welcoming nation that strives to help the vulnerable,” Boozman said. “It is no secret that ISIS and other violent extremists want to exploit our nation’s generosity and welcoming spirit to sneak terrorists onto American soil. This plan has worked in Europe. ISIS believes it can work here as well. We can, and must, take reasonable measures to prevent that. So it is reasonable, responsible in fact, to put a pause on accepting refugees from these nations in order to fix the flaws in the process and instill confidence in the system.”
The following are Boozman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
When President Trump began his campaign for the White House, he made national security—and in particular, homeland security—a cornerstone of his platform.
His calls to secure the border, keep terrorists off of U.S. soil and protect our communities struck a chord with a large majority of Americans who for years felt that Washington ignored their very real concerns about our porous borders and broken immigration system.
As expected, the president has moved quickly to deliver on his promises to fix this broken system.
This week the Trump administration rolled out a revised version of its Executive Order aimed at restoring confidence in the the procedures we use to vet refugees fleeing from nations that are known to harbor radical and violent extremists.
The revised version appears to have benefitted from the engagement of the president’s cabinet, especially the key input of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly.
This valuable input underscores how important it is for the President to have his team in place to govern effectively.
Senate Democrats have slowed the confirmation process at every turn. I encourage them to abandon the political games so that we can quickly fill the remaining vacancies that require Senate confirmation.
It is vital that every affected agency is engaged on these types of decisions. That isn't possible if the Senate is failing to do its duty to confirm the President’s nominees.
Congress has many problems to tackle, but protecting our nation is at the top of that list. That requires we work together to govern.
It also requires that we take a step back from the heated rhetoric and have honest conversations.
Taking the fundamental steps to protect our homeland does not diminish the fact that we are a welcoming nation that strives to help the vulnerable.
It is no secret that ISIS and other violent extremists want to exploit our nation’s generosity and welcoming spirit to sneak terrorists onto American soil.
This plan has worked in Europe. ISIS believes it can work here as well. We can, and must, take reasonable measures to prevent that.
So it is reasonable, responsible in fact, to put a pause on accepting refugees from these nations in order to fix the flaws in the process and instill confidence in the system.
The revised order removes Iraq from the list of countries. That is a move in the right direction. It shows that the Iraqis have taken the right steps and agreed to increase their cooperation with us.
And affecting positive outcomes in our relations with these nations is what this pause is about.
Four of the countries on this list don’t even have a U.S. embassy, so you can understand how difficult it is to get a complete picture of the refugees seeking asylum from those countries when we don’t even have a means by which to communicate.
Once the President’s Executive Order goes into effect, every country will be evaluated within twenty days. If a country comes up short of where it needs to be, it will have fifty days to fix the failures in communications with us.
The reasonable measures we are taking to reduce this threat in no way run counter to the ideals that our nation is built upon.
We can be proud of the resources the U.S. has provided to support those fleeing persecution in war-torn Syria.
I have visited the refugee camps we support in Jordan and Turkey. Our commitment to their well-being is strong. The rhetoric just doesn’t match the realities when it comes to this issue.
The administration’s efforts to secure our borders has been met with similar hyperbole. Again, there is nothing unreasonable about ensuring that we know who is coming into our nation.
We are a nation of immigrants and must remain welcoming to those who want to achieve the American Dream.
We should be proud of our record to naturalize those who immigrate here legally. We naturalize more new citizens per year than the rest of the world combined.
Enforcing the law and ensuring the safety and security of our nation will not change our commitment to being a welcoming society to those who seek a better life.
But you can’t create policy to secure our homeland while wearing rose-colored glasses.
There are terrorists seeking to exploit our good graces so they can attack us here at home. This is not a scare tactic. This is reality. And we have to root our policies in reality.
Mr. President, as Chairman of the Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, I strongly support President Trump’s efforts to get Washington to uphold our most important responsibility—protecting the American people.
I stand ready to work with him, Secretary Kelly and my colleagues to accomplish this goal.