On Saturday Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey joined hundreds of protesters at Philadelphia International Airport. They spoke out against President Donald Trump’s Executive Order blocking immigrants from 7 countries, which they characterized as illegal and a de facto ban on Muslims.
Casey left a white-tie reception of the Philadelphia Academy of Music Ball and spent a large part of the night actively participating in the Twitter debate as well as being there in person.
Today's chaos didn't have to happen- @realDonaldTrump made it happen through his reckless executive order.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) January 29, 2017
The protest mirrored others across the country. It was organized around two families of Syrian refugee families who had arrived in Philadelphia after 15 years of efforts. According to reports, the families were told when they arrived they could either be detained and lose their visas revoked, or get on the first flight back to Doha, Qatar.
Wolf and Casey are the two highest ranking Democratic officials in Pennsylvania, and two of the highest profile incumbents in the country in 2018. The speed with which they took to the protests portends a campaign based on opposition to Trump, who won PA in 2016.
On his way to the protest, Wolf tweeted that the refugees were welcome in Pennsylvania. “He did not think this through,” Wolf said of Trump’s order. He later released a video on the subject:
Philadelphia Congressmen Bob Brady and Dwight Evans and Mayor Jim Kenney also joined the protests.
Some Pennsylvania Republicans, while not showing up at the protests, spoke out against the order.
Representative Charlie Dent (Lehigh) and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) spoke out against the order.
Dent urged a “more thoughtful and deliberate policy.”
“While we certainly need to enhance our current vetting process and significantly reform our immigration policies to make sure terrorists are not exploiting our nation’s proud tradition of freedom and acceptance, the President’s policy entirely misses the mark,” Fitzpatrick said in statement released early Sunday morning.
Other PA Republicans backed President Trump including Representatives Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) and Scott Perry (R-York).
“I commend President Trump for suspending the refugee program, and in particular for Syria and the six other countries, because they are unquestionably terrorist havens and hotspots,” Barletta said in a statement.
“The American people demand action on this issue and Washington has failed for too long. The President’s actions today are a good first step,” Perry said.
“I support the administration’s decision to increase vetting and temporarily suspend the admission of certain individuals from states that sponsor or provide safe havens to terrorists, or are too weak to prosecute terrorists within their borders,” U.S. Senator Pat Toomey said this morning in a released statement.
“Unfortunately, the initial executive order was flawed – it was too broad and poorly explained,” Toomey continued.