The most influential Republican in the Connecticut General Assembly, and the Chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party each say they support President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and refugees.
One of the orders temporarily blocks citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries from entering the United States and put restrictions on Visa issuances, while the other indefinitely blocsk Syrian refugees from being resettled in the United States.
“Could he have rolled it out better? Absolutely," said Sen. Len Fasano, the Republican President Pro Tem, in the divided Connecticut State Senate. "Could he have made some exemptions for kids? Certainly."
Fasano says the orders are meant to protect American citizens, while ensuring those enter the country aren't looking to do harm.
He described the orders as, "fair," and said, "He doesn’t want some act to happen under his watch and he’s going to put in those safeguards to do the best he can to make sure that those folks who are coming to our shores are well vetted.”
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman, JR Romano, said the orders were mischaracterized by those who opposed them, which he said led to demonstrations.
“The truth is, hitting a pause button to ensure the safety of American families, I think is necessary," he said during an interview.
Romano also said the executive orders fall short of anything resembling a ban on Muslims, even though the countries targeted are all majority Muslim nations.
“This isn’t a Muslim issue, this is a cultural issue, that we have to have a bigger conversation about.”
Richard Kay, the Oliver Ellsworth Legal Scholar at the UConn School of Law, said the orders are vague, and hit on numerous issues that could be challenged in court. He said the orders are set up for what could be a mixed bag of results.
Kay said groups opposing the actions could have standing on equal protection and constitutional grounds, but said any challenge that that policies are bans on religion might be harder to prove.
“Just to say it singles out Muslims is hard to do when this is really a small group of Muslims in the world who are affected by this. A great majority of others live in other countries, India, Indonesia.”
The ACLU received record donations as of Monday afternoon, north of $24 million. The Executive Director of the ACLU in Connecticut, David McGuire, said the group can be expected to be on the legal front lines for the duration of the Trump presidency if such actions continue.
“All of these things do run afoul of the constitution. We’re talking about religious liberty, equality, the things that our country is built on so we do expect to be active over the next coming months and years.”