While many of Kentucky's elected officials have so far stayed silent on President Donald Trump's executive order related to immigration and refugees, at least one western Kentucky GOP leader says Trump is simply fulfilling campaign promises.
Greg DeLancey is Chair of the Murray-Calloway County Republican Party. He said preventing 'dangerous people' from coming into the country and greater border protection is what Trump campaigned on. DeLancey said the order is to try to prevent people coming in from countries that have a history of training and exporting terrorists without first vetting them.
"I think as a whole it's important to have control of immigration policy and to really utilize the current laws on the books... essentially trying to use the current laws to protect our citizenry," He said.
DeLancey said the attention given to this particular issue is embellished by people who 'just don't like Trump, period,' or are trying to paint a picture of anti-immigration or as being against people trying to come into the country to seek asylum. "Some of the news media appears to have tried to utilize this issue as another indication that President Trump is overboard. Comparing to past presidencies and what's happened in the past it's really no different than past regulations and laws that we've had."
Trump has said the order is an extension of an Obama administration policy - that the seven countries had been flagged as 'areas of concern' regarding travel visas in 2015, which according to Snopes has a mixture of truth. Trump also compared the order to an order by Obama in 2011 that temporarily restricted people from Iraq, due to actions by two refugees in Kentucky, which FactCheck.org explains as being a faulty comparison.
Regarding whether or not the order is a 'Muslim ban' (which has become shorthand for the order, despite a rebuff from Trump who insists it is not a Muslim ban - though he has previously called for a ban on Muslim immigration) has the potential for legal battles calling attention to the 1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Whether or not non-citizens or illegal immigrants are protected by the Constitution usually points to an interpretation of the 14th amendment: "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." (this is not necessarily a simple argument - also here).
On this matter, DeLancey said the Constitution allows for a variety of belief. He feels people who are not citizens don't have the same benefits under the Constitution and that arriving through legal channels involves a lot of standards. "We need to figure out who people are... And that's why I think some people are going overboard on this whole issue. They just want to find something that fits the narrative of 'Donald Trump is not qualified to be president.'"
Urging calm, DeLancey recommends a 'wait and see' approach. He said, "Ultimately we'll be better off if we make sure that those people who are coming into our country are legitimate in the sense that 'Do they have a need to be here?' 'Are they looking to find asylum because of some persecution?' or 'Because they are left without a country?"
He said those affected by the ban are a small percentage of people coming into the United States.