SEATTLE -- Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8th District) told KING 5 he’s disappointed by the rollout of President Trump’s extreme vetting executive order that caused massive confusion at airports over the weekend.
He also noted his district office has been flooded with hundreds of calls following weekend outrage and demonstrations.
“My staff took over 700 phone calls yesterday, and our voicemail is full,” said Reichert who says his staff is struggling to keep up with constituent services as a result.
However, the Republican Congressman whose district includes King County expressed deep frustration with the implementation of the partial travel ban that took effect shortly after it was signed late Friday.
“The administration did not consult with Congress on this executive order or the language that was included in the executive order,” Reichert said in a phone call Tuesday morning. “I’m disappointed with way it was presented to the American people. I think it’s disgusting how it affected people who have a legal right to be here in this country, some were American citizens.”
“Their intent in protecting American citizens from terrorism may have been a good one, but it resulted in stomping of the rights of other human beings, and that’s unacceptable,” Reichert continued.
"From a law enforcement perspective, I understand the need to reevaluate the processes in place in those seven countries and our ability to have access to information that properly vets people from these countries before they enter the United States. I don’t think and absolutely disagree with the way that the plan was presented, rolled out and introduced."
The White House has defended the executive order which temporarily pauses immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries. It also suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely suspends it for Syrian refugees.
Rep. Reichert said multiple Republicans expressed their frustration during a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday. During a news conference, Speaker Ryan said he supported the President’s executive order, but called the confusion over implementation “regrettable.”
Congressman Reichert says he believes Congress should have been consulted from the beginning.
“We could have come up with legislation with language that would have accomplished two things, one keeping Americans safe from terrorism, and two protecting the rights of those people who are citizens and who have a legal right to be in the country, and his executive order didn’t do that,” Reichert told KING 5.
Reichert, the former Sheriff of King County, also remains critical of the President’s earlier executive order that threatens to strip funding from Sanctuary Cities.
“I think that’s absolutely the wrong direction to go,” he said.
The federal funding in jeopardy is likely law enforcement related grants, according to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Office.
Congressman Reichert said he would urge President Trump to slow down and think through his use of executive orders.
“I think they need to be more thoughtful, and they need to engage in Congress,” said Reichert.
“That’s why our founding fathers constructed the government in way it’s constructed today with checks and balances, and I plan on being one of those checks and I plan on being one of the balances.
Also on Tuesday, Rep. Reichert and Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal introduced a new bill to protect children under DACA (Deferred Action from Childhood Arrivals) from being deported.