NASHVILLE - U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., are taking issue with elements of President Donald Trump's immigration order, calling it confusing and Alexander saying "it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character.
With protesters marching in Chattanooga and, in Nashville, dozens demonstrating outside Corker's office here, the senator issued a statement saying "we all share a desire to protect the American people, but this executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders."
Trump issued the sweeping executive travel ban last week limiting limiting entry to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations. According to multiple news accounts, some Muslims who had legal visas or green cards were detained at airports in some cities.
One was reportedly an Iraqi man who had assisted American troops during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
A number of federal judges have placed stays on the order pending further court action.
"The administration should immediately make appropriate revisions," said Corker, adding "and it is my hope that following a thorough review and implementation of security enhancements that many of these programs will be improved and reinstated."
Alexander said in his own statement that "this vetting proposal itself needed more vetting.
"More scrutiny of those traveling from war-torn countries to the United States is wise," Alexander said. "But this broad and confusing order seems to ban legal, permanent residents with 'green cards,' and might turn away Iraqis, for example, who were translators and helped save lives of Americans troops and who could be killed if they stay in Iraq."
Alexander said that "while not explicitly a religious test, it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character."
Chattanooga worshippers from Pilgrim Congregational Church marched Sunday in protest of Trump's executive order.
Holding signs with messages like, "American Values Include Immigrants," the demonstrators marched together through Third Street near CHI Memorial Hospital.
Another local protest event is being planned for Wednesday night at Coolidge Park. Bridge Refugee Services and Occupy Chattanooga, are holding the "We All Belong Vigil."
That event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Reporter David Cobb contributed to this story.