BOSTON (STATE HOUSE) – President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven countries will feed the threat of homegrown extremists, according to a Cape Cod congressman who serves as ranking Democrat on a terrorism subcommittee in Washington D.C.
Congressman William Keating, of Bourne, said barring the entry of nationals from Syria, Sudan and five other countries from the Middle East region will harm useful alliances and feed anti-American propaganda.
“Our greatest concern remains violent extremists that are at-home: home-grown violent extremists. That’s where our greatest concern is. This does not do anything but give them greater material for propaganda, greater material to use to inspire these people that are already here, to become radicalized,” Keating told the News Service on Monday. “So this has hurt our security instead of helped it.”
President Donald Trump’s stated goal in signing the executive order Friday was protecting the country from foreign terrorists, and the ban will last 90 days. Protesters and lawyers descended on airports over the weekend, demanding the release of people detained by Customs and Border Protection.
According to Politifact, none of the terrorists who have carried out deadly attacks in the United States since September 2001 hail from the seven countries included in the order: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Trump’s team says the order is geared toward keeping the United States safe and applies to countries identified by the Obama administration as “sources of terror.”
Keating, who is ranking member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, said the travel restriction damages U.S. standing, which harms national security.
“We are only as secure as our overall network internationally,” Keating said. “When our allies in the European Union are criticizing this and concerned with this; when our military people and our people risking their lives to help us are concerned by this; and when we’re no longer looked at as the beacon of freedom, the way the United States has been, that’s going to hurt us.”
Keating worked on reports intended to prevent similar incidents to the Boston Marathon bombing. Those reports recommended increased information-sharing between law enforcement, better use of travel records and screening of international travelers.
Keating was at the State House on Monday to hear from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the Pilgrim Nuclear Station, a more than 40-year-old plant beset by safety challenges, which is scheduled to close after refueling this year.
“We wanted to know exactly what was going on, what they found,” Keating said, noting an internal email highlighted safety concerns at the plant. He said, “It’s been a long-going concern with Pilgrim. It’s rated as one of the three lowest-rated nuclear plants, based on safety.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public question-and-answer session about its recent Pilgrim inspection on Tuesday evening in Plymouth.
Copyright 2017 State House News Service