New Democrats Respond to President Trump’s Refugee Executive Order
Yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration is unconstitutional and upheld the stay on the President’s immigration ban. The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for American values, national security and common sense.
“The opinion of every national security and intelligence expert I have spoken as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is that this ban would not make our country safer. In fact, it likely serves as a recruitment tool for ISIL and other extremists,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Jim Himes. “This is a win for the federal judiciary, which exercised its proper role in reviewing the Constitutionality of this action. Instead of going down this dangerous and potentially unconstitutional path, we should continue the thorough vetting processes we already have in place and work towards actual policy solutions, not fear-mongering, to confront the threat of terrorism.”
After notice of the Executive Order over a week ago, New Democrat Coalition Members responded within hours — overwhelmingly demanding answers and defending the freedom of all Americans. New Democrat Coalition Members were among the first to show up to airports across the nation. They were the first to stand up to bigotry. They were the first to stand up and speak out to injustice.
Keep reading to see highlights of some of the New Democrat Coalition Members who stood up at airports, took action, and spoke out nationwide.
Members Stood Up at Airports Nationwide
After showing up immediately at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), New Democrat Coalition Vice-Chair Rep. Suzan DelBene wrote to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeking an explanation for why so little information was communicated to Members of Congress during her visit to Sea-Tac. Watch the full press conference at the airport.
New Democrat Coalition Whip Gerry Connolly was joined by Reps. Rep. Don Beyer and John Delaney at Dulles Airport after President Trump’s Executive Order. Rep. Connolly successfully got a constituent released from the airport. Watch Rep. Connolly in action here.
Rep. Don Beyer gives his firsthand account about what he saw at Dulles Airport. Rep. Beyer was surprised after he was “expecting to find a small group of 20 or 30 people awaiting relatives from the seven countries targeted by President Donald Trump’s immigration order. Instead, there were more than 200, some protesters with signs, others in business dress with name labels that included the phrase ‘immigration lawyer.’” Rep. Don Beyer also discussed the “constitutional crisis” of the travel ban with reporters.
Rep. Gregory Meeks stood with protestors and colleague against Trump’s Executive Order at JFK airport. He wrote about standing with thousands and signing “This Land is Your Land” at the airport. Watch him in action here.
Rep. John Delaney joined constituents at the Dulles and Baltimore airport in speaking out against Trump’s Executive Order. “We should always work to improve screening procedures for people entering the country, but we must do so in a way that actually makes us safer and is consistent with our values and laws,” said Rep. Delaney. Watch him at the airport here.
Members Took Action
Rep. Scott Peters, too, led 70 colleagues to get answers on how President Trump’s White House drafted and evaluated the Executive Order that suspended refugee admissions and restricted the flow of immigrants from Muslim nations. Rep. Peters and his colleagues are requested that the Government Accountability Office issue a report detailing what input was solicited from federal agencies before the order was issued, what guidance was offered to the Department of Homeland Security about how the order should be enforced, and what legal analysis was performed by the Office of Legal Counsel or any agency General Counsels before the order was signed by the President.
Rep. Cheri Bustos called for an Oversight investigation into Trump’s dangerous ban. Rep. Cheri Bustos, along with co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, issued a joint statement calling for a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee investigation into the development and execution of President Donald Trump’s dangerous refugee ban.
Rep. Bill Foster hosted a teletown hall on President Trump’s Executive Orders. “We are a nation of immigrants, and we are proud of the heritage of inclusion that defines us all as Americans. Our country thrives when people from all countries come here to build better lives, start businesses, and enroll in our schools,” said Rep. Foster.
Rep. Jim Cooper announced that a Kurdish family, initially stopped on the way to Nashville, had been cleared for entry into the United States. “It’s shattering when you’re headed to the United States on a plane and you get pulled off for no good reason,” Rep. Cooper said. “Swift action by many committed U.S. State Department employees allowed our nation to right a wrong and fulfill its promise to the Sharef family. In America, we should honor our commitments.”
Members Spoke Out
Joaquin Castro (TX- 20): “Congress must take action if President Trump intentionally disobeyed a court’s order in the Muslim ban.” Check out his interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes.
Rep. Beto O'Rourke released the following statement on the ban: “Refusing refugees is shameful. Accepting them based on their religion is unconstitutional. Banning immigrants from countries who had nothing to do with the worst terror attacks in this country’s history makes no sense. Stopping Syrians fleeing the worst slaughter and forced migration the world has seen in decades is inhumane. And building walls between the U.S. and Mexico will humiliate one of our closest economic and security partners in the world. All of these actions make our country less safe, not more. They make us weaker, not stronger. They ignore the best in who we are to embrace the worst.” Watch Rep. O’Rourke’s video on #NoBanNoWall.
Rep. André Carson, who is Muslim, spoke with Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition and condemned the order barring refugees and limiting visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries. “For me, being African-American and being a Muslim, I think, my reference point is quite different. I mean, having had to deal with deep suspicions and animosities growing up as an African-American and as a Muslim — so you have double the assumptions, double the suspicions — I’m deeply concerned. You know, I applaud the injunction against President Trump’s executive order. And I call on the Democratic Party, the Republican Party to speak boldly against these things. To me, it’s unpatriotic and un-American,” said Rep. André Carson.
Congressman Adam Smith, Ranking Member on the House Armed Forces Committee, wrote a response on Medium noting that “Sweeping policy changes cannot be made unilaterally with no input from policy experts that run agencies in charge of the issues being discussed.” Read the full piece, Speaking Loudly in the Face of Injustice: A Pragmatic Legislator’s Response to the Trump Administration.
Rep. Susan Davis called for the repeal of Trump’s Executive Order targeting refugees and praised the Court for ruling its staying order, “America has always been a beacon of hope and freedom around the world. This executive order slams the door on those seeking refuge from violence and oppression and runs contrary to the values that have defined America for generations. We already have one of the most stringent and thorough screening processes for vetting refugees, taking years to complete.”
Rep. Norma Torres issued the following statement on the President’s Executive Action: “President Trump’s Executive Order on refugees is more reckless fear-mongering that has no basis in reality. Refugees already undergo a long, rigorous screening process that often takes years. While we should work to continuously monitor and improve that process, there is no reason to bring it to a crashing halt or to enact a blanket ban on those coming from certain Muslim-majority countries.”