Dean Cavaretta, the former state director for President Trump’s campaign, was frustrated Saturday night as protesters arrived at Logan Airport to voice anger at the president’s executive order on immigration.
Trump’s Friday order closed US borders to refugees and non-US citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Travelers with green cards and visas were reportedly detained at airports across the country on Saturday, and some, like Iranian-born Samira Asgari, were not allowed to travel to the US at all.
Cavaretta said the policy was a bold change for the country that was bound to inconvenience many at the start. But instead of protesting, he hoped Massachusetts residents would “take a breath” and let the country acclimate to the changes.
“The president is trying to come up with a policy to keep the country safe,” he said. “I think any time you’re going to be this bold, it’s going to cause people to be concerned.”
Cavaretta hopes local politicians and federal officials will come together with open minds and create constructive solutions, rather than simply fighting the executive order. One of the first priorities, he said, is to create a “robust and fast waiver process” to allow people with current visas and green card holders to enter the country.
Cavaretta also emphasized that Trump’s policy is temporary and exists to allow the administration to create a stronger immigration system. The order places an immigration ban from the seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely for all Syrian refugees.
“The goal is to come up with a new immigration system to make sure that stricter vetting is conducted, particularly with countries that have a history of terrorism,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon the congressmen and our federal officials to make this work based on the president’s wishes.”
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for immigration Studies, also acknowledged that the policy has room for exceptions but said the number of refugees allowed into the United States should be reverted back to “a level that has been more typical of recent years.”
Vaughan said it makes sense to suspend admission for non-US citizens from certain countries while the Trump administration re-evaluates the country’s vetting process.
Though there is an opportunity to allow people with visas and green cards back in, this process “is not something that can be done overnight,” she said.
“Having a student visa doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is not a terrorist,” she said. “They may be able to be admitted back in, but they’re going to have to be subjected to extra scrutiny, and there can’t be any guarantees that they’re going to be allowed back in.”
Lou Murray, a Republican National Convention delegate who serves on Trump’s Catholic Advisory Group, said he has “nothing but high praise” for Trump’s executive order.
He added that the US government should help “those populations who are most vulnerable,” including “the Christian population who is most at risk from ISIS, Al Qaeda and other Islamic dangers.”
“Our kindness to the Tsarnaev family was repaid by a pressure cooker bomb on the marathon route,” Murray said. “I think he’s [Trump’s] doing the right thing, as a Bostonian.”