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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio 'worried' about total ban on refugees



WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he is "worried" about the effect of President Donald Trump's 120-day moratorium on accepting all refugees.

Rubio delivered his remarks in a floor speech last night and began (see 6 minute mark in video) by justifying additional screening.

"You can't just call '1-800 Syria' and get background information about the individuals that are trying to enter the United States," Rubio said. "And we know for a fact that there are terrorist groups around the world that have commandeered passport-making machinery and are producing passports that are real in every way except the identity of the person in the picture. And so I do believe that we need to have very careful and rigorous screening more than ever before of all people entering the United States, but especially those who are coming from areas that we know do not have reliable background information available to us.

"But at the same time I can't help – and I think we should not help but to be worried about the impact of a 120-day moratorium on every single refugee from anywhere on the planet. Refugees from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Colombia, El Salvador, Vietnam, Burma and, of course, Cuba just to name a few places. These are among the most vulnerable people on the planet living often in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances imaginable.

"I remind everyone this is a moratorium. It is not a permanent policy. I understand that there are provisions available for waivers, and I find that to be promising. But I also want everyone to understand that 120 days for someone who is trying to get out of a place where they might be killed, may be one day too many for some of them. I hope that does not turn out to be the case. That's why I urge the administration, that's why I urge soon-to-be Secretary Tillerson to exercise great caution in making sure dissidents and others are not being turned away."

This afternoon Rubio will vote to confirm Tillerson.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 1:27pm]


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