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Tim Scott, Marco Rubio criticize execution but not intent of Trump’s immigration order

Trump signs "extreme vetting" executive action tightening restrictions for refugees

President Donald Trump signed and executive action at the Pentagon on Friday, tightening the United States' refugee and visa policies.
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President Donald Trump signed and executive action at the Pentagon on Friday, tightening the United States' refugee and visa policies.

The idea behind President Donald Trump’s "Muslim ban" wasn’t wrong so much as it was poorly executed, according to two influential Republican U.S. senators.

The assessment, released as a joint statement by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), came Sunday night, after a day during which Scott’s staff said the Senate’s only African-American Republican thought long and hard about the order banning for 90 days visitors from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, all predominantly Muslim countries.

The senators issued a statement noting that "it is clear to us that some of what is being said and reported about the scope and implications of these measures is misleading." They also said they "generally support additional vetting for many of those entering our country from nations where the United States has identified there are serious concerns regarding terrorist activities and planning."

However, they concluded, "the manner in which these measures were crafted and implemented have greatly contributed to the confusion, anxiety and uncertainty of the last few days."

For example, the senators said the American Visa Waiver program is "is critical to the economies of our respective states." They are asking for clarification on what the changes to it in this order might mean.

In addition, they said they "are uneasy about the potential impact of these measures on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us."

Still, in the end, they said the balance between national security and core American values must both be considered.

"We are both committed to doing what we must to keep America safe," their statement said. "We are equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution."

Matthew Schofield: 202-383-6066, @mattschodcnews

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