Charlie Baker says Trump’s refugee ban ‘will not make the country safer’

Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker address legislators last week during his State of the Commonwealth speech. Steven Senne / AP

After initially releasing a statement through a spokesman earlier this weekend, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated his opposition to President Donald Trump’s refugee ban with a statement of his own Sunday afternoon.

“I believe focusing on countries’ predominant religions will not make the country safer as terrorists have showed they intend to strike from across the world,” the Republican governor said.

While Baker’s absence was noticed Sunday afternoon at the Copley Square protest against the order, the Massachusetts governor was among the first in his party to rebuke Trump over the plan. After then-candidate Trump floated the so-called Muslim ban in December 2015, an “angry” and “animated” Baker ripped into the proposal as “unrealistic” and “inappropriate.”


“I can’t believe that I’m reading this, which is basically directly in contrast and in conflict with most of the most important values that people in this country hold most dear, among them the right and ability to practice their religion peacefully,” he said at the time, adding that the plan was “a really bad idea.’’

Baker later said he would not vote for Trump in the general election, partially citing the proposed immigration ban.

Signed into law Friday afternoon, Trump’s order bans refugees from entering the United States for 120 days, indefinitely suspends refugees from Syria from entering the United States, and blocks citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days. It also effectively prioritizes Christian refugees over Muslim refugees.

In a comparatively more diplomatic statement Sunday, Baker joins a small, minority of elected Republicans who have denounced Trump’s executive order, which immediately incited global confusion and protest. A series of federal court ruling have since temporarily halted parts of the order.

Read Baker’s full statement Sunday below:

“Massachusetts is a global community.  We all benefit from the shared experiences of our partners from around the world. Our education, health care, business and public sector institutions rely on these relationships to deliver on their missions every single day.

“The federal government’s recent decision puts this at risk and I believe focusing on countries’ predominant religions will not make the country safer as terrorists have showed they intend to strike from across the world. The confusion for families is real.  The unexpected disruption for law abiding people is real.  And the lack of guidance associated with such an abrupt and overwhelming decision is hugely problematic for all involved.

“Thankfully, the federal courts will have an opportunity to straighten this out and it is my hope they do so, and do so quickly to clarify the status of those affected so that people who have done nothing but follow the rules can rest assured that they will be able to go on with their lives.”


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