(CNN)As a federal appeals court deliberates the fate of President Donald Trump's travel ban, a Republican congressman warned Tuesday night that it will hurt the United States' ties to Middle East allies needed in the fight against terrorism.
GOP congressman: Trump travel ban 'sign of distrust' to allies
In an interview with Erin Burnett on CNN's "OutFront," Rep. Will Hurd of Texas said the ban is "a sign of distrust to many of our allies in that region."
"We have about 10,000 Americans in those seven countries," he said. "Our men and women that are on a military base in Iraq. Who's protecting that military base? Iraqis. We have special forces in Syria, and they're shoulder to shoulder with who? Syrians. This is an issue that is going to cause friction with many of our partners."
Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer and member of the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees, cautioned "we do live in a dangerous world and to fight Islamic terrorism we need allies and we need partners. And in a place like Iraq, many Iraqi men and women have given their ultimate life to put ISIS and al Qaeda on the run in order to keep them off of our shores."
Asked whether he was aware of any intelligence suggesting a terror plot from any of the seven countries included in the travel ban to warrant the restrictions, Hurd said, "There are no credible, real threats on the homeland as of two days ago."
Hurd cited his work on a congressional task force to suggest that more attention must be paid to foreign fighters coming from other regions. "There's over 200 Americans that have gone into Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS," he said. "One of the problems that we saw was that our European allies weren't vetting known travelers against watch lists, information we were providing about people connected to terrorism."
"It's a lot quicker to slip in, to be fighting in a place like Iraq or Syria, slip into Turkey, get into Europe, find a fake European passport and come through one of our ports of entry," Hurd continued. "That is something that would take a significant less amount of time."
Hurd said he hopes that the House and Senate will pass legislation to crack down on visa loopholes.