Fear is Not the Way to Respond to Terror

by Jon Tester

As your senator, my top priority is always the safety and security of those who call Montana home.

The horrible terrorist attacks in Paris have left America with a choice. We can repeat the mistakes of the past or we can learn from them.

Like most folks, I remember exactly where I was when the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2011. That horrendous assault on our nation called for us to act, and we did.

But while we were rising from the rubble, we made some serious mistakes, none greater than the passage of the Patriot Act-one of the worst laws to ever come out of Washington.

The Patriot Act gave the government the ability to spy on law-abiding Americans, and it has taken us over a decade to repeal just some of the harmful provisions of this law.

It should serve as a reminder that we must never forfeit the values and ideals that make America the greatest country on earth.

As I work to keep our nation safe, I believe Congress must take a deliberate approach and not respond with policy that we will regret later on.

Yes, we must thoroughly investigate every refugee from the Middle East who enters the United States.
While the current vetting process takes nearly two years, I have been asking the departments of Homeland Security and State how we can toughen up this process to make sure it will be 100 percent effective. And I will continue to work to strengthen other parts of our immigration system to better protect our country.

But those who are creating the false choice between national security and sacrificing American values are wrong. We can strengthen our borders, keeping America safe while also promoting the same principles that inspired our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to flee their countries and live in the best nation in the world.

You have my commitment that I will do everything possible to keep America safe. I will not respond to tragedy out of fear. I will not govern with knee-jerk reactions but instead with thoughtful and effective policy.

By standing strong and never forsaking the freedoms that this country was founded on, we will continue to promote the core values that make this nation great.