Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also laid out her disagreements with Trump’s directive, noting that it could block immigration of Iraqi nationals who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters and bodyguards during the Iraq War. They can qualify for a so-called “special immigrant visa” that is set aside for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who aided the U.S., and one of the men detained at John F. Kennedy airport late Friday had obtained that visa after working as an interpreter for the U.S. military for a decade.
“The worldwide refugee ban set forth in the executive order is overly broad and implementing it will be immediately problematic,” Collins said in a statement to the Sun Journal.
But Ryan (R-Wis.), once a harsh critic of any ban on Muslim immigration, came out in defense of the president’s order. Senior GOP congressional aides said that Trump’s action was not targeted specifically at Muslims and therefore did not mean the White House was imposing a religious test on refugees.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not comment on Trump’s order. McConnell plans to make his position known during a Sunday morning TV interview.