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Sens. King, Collins Critical of Trump Order Banning Refugees

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Craig Ruttle
/
Associated Press
Protesters block an intersection near Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Saturday after earlier in the day two Iraqi refugees were detained while trying to enter the country.

WASHINGTON D.C. -  Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King say they're in favor of protecting the nation's borders from terrorism, but they say President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning all refugees is not just too broad but likely to be ineffective- and possibly harmful.

"Undoubtedly, improvements could be made to our refugee screening process, but the world-wide refugee ban set forth in the executive order is overly broad and implementing it will be immediately problematic," says Collins.  "For example, it could interfere with the immigration of Iraqis who worked for American forces in Iraq as translators and body guards,  people who literally saved the lives of our troops and diplomats during the last decade and whose lives are at risk if they remain in Iraq."

Additionally, the Republican senator says she is troubled by what she describes as a "religious test" as a means for deciding who, eventually, might be admitted. "While it is appropriate to consider religious persecution when reviewing a request for refugee status, a preference should not be given to people who practice a particular religion, nor should a greater burden be imposed on people who practice a particular religion."
President Trump this week told the Christian Broadcasting Network that a preference would be given to refugees who were Christian. 

A statement from independent Sen. Angus King's office says the actions taken this week by the Trump administration will "...isolate America from our allies, marginalize this country's Muslim population who are often the source for information that helps prevent terrorism, and is inconsistent with who we are as a country. "
 
King goes on to say that Trump has taken the "bait" and given isolated extremist groups such as ISIS what they want: a war between America and the "entire Muslim world."