New England Lawmakers Slam Trump Ban Impacting Refugees, Immigration From 6 Muslim-Majority Countries - NECN
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New England Lawmakers Slam Trump Ban Impacting Refugees, Immigration From 6 Muslim-Majority Countries



    Some Massachusetts lawmakers are responding to President Donald Trump's reworked travel ban.

    (Published Monday, March 6, 2017)

    After President Donald Trump's administration announced his revised executive order regarding immigration on Monday, lawmakers across New England are speaking out and considering possible legal responses.

    Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who calls the ban a "misguided policy," promised to weigh legal options to protect residents, businesses and institutions in the Bay State.

    "The president's travel ban was already rejected by the courts and abandoned in defeat by his attorneys," Healey said in a statement. "This watered-down redraft is a clear attempt to resurrect a discredited order and fulfill a discriminatory and unconstitutional campaign process."

    The order shuts down the U.S. refugee program for four months and limits immigration from six Muslim-majority nations.

    "President Trump is handing ISIS recruitment gold and is putting American lives at risk," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement. "Our enemies' dream is to paint a picture of global war between Islam and the West, and today's travel ban plays right into their hands. I will immediately revise and re-introduce my bill to block its implementation."

    "The Trump administration's decision to delay this revised ban in order to maximize positive press coverage sends a clear message that this directive is about politics, not national security," added Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. "Arbitrarily imposing travel restrictions on certain Muslim-majority countries only makes us less safe by reinforcing terrorist propaganda and recruitment. It's shameful that this administration would needlessly separate families and single out refugees who are fleeing violence and seeking a better life. Immigrants make up the fabric of this country, and they continue to enrich our communities and strengthen our economy. America is better than this."

    On Twitter, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the order "racist and anti-Islamic."

    "Despite the changes, this is just another attempt by the Trump administration at a backdoor Muslim ban — with Trump's own advisers admitting that the goals are the same as his previous executive order," Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire wrote. "There have been reports that the Department of Homeland Security's own analysis showed no intelligence basis for the ban, and former defense and intelligence officials from both parties have said that the ban would make us less safe ... I support strengthening the vetting process for all entryways into the United States while remaining true to our values, and I am very concerned that the Trump administration has shown that it puts political considerations before national security and the values that make us strong."

    "I believe the new travel ban, like the first, is outrageous, immoral and unconstitutional," Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire wrote. "Since the first travel ban, a Department of Homeland Security assessment has made it clear this approach will do nothing to make us safer. Instead, it risks putting our troops in danger, alienating our allies and fueling anti-American propaganda. I will continue to oppose this and any blanket travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries and to work on behalf of New Hampshire's refugees, immigrants and foreign students."

    The new version of Trump's executive order suspends the nation's refugee program for 120 days. When it's lifted, no more than 50,000 refugees will be allowed entry during the fiscal year 2017. It prohibits new visas for people traveling from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.

    The previous incarnation of the order included Iraq and also impacted people with active visas.

    Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts likened the two versions to "a bad movie with a bad sequel."

    "The executive order remains blatantly discriminatory and still encourages the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to engage in religious-based questioning. We cannot allow the Trump administration to write bigotry into U.S. immigration policy. The new travel ban will continue to keep families separated and hurt universities and businesses in Massachusetts that have students and employees seeking to come to the United States," Markey wrote. "This new travel ban will not make our nation safer and only serves as a recruitment tool for ISIS and other terrorists. The courts blocked Donald Trump's first Muslim ban because it trampled on constitutional rights, and I anticipate this new attempt to repackage it will meet the same fate."

    Boston Mayor Marty Walsh agrees with that sentiment.

    "While this administration is packaging this as a new and improved executive order, it is the same ban that discriminates against the same people," he wrote in a statement. "It was wrong the first time and it's wrong the second. In Boston, we will always stand by our immigrant community."

    Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, a military veteran, was also critical of the order, particularly the impact on refugees.

    "Ensuring the safety of Americans here at home and our troops abroad is one of my most sacred responsibilities as a member of Congress," he explained. "But this new ban does absolutely nothing to strengthen the vetting process ... These are men, women and children who are fleeing violence and persecution by terrorists. Their enemies are America's enemies. By turning our backs on them, it makes it more difficult to work with our allies in the Middle East, allies who are vital to defeating ISIS and other terrorist groups. President Trump's ban continues to make us less safe and is in total opposition to the values upon which our country was founded. I will continue to fight for those American values when they are under assault from within just as I put my life on the line to defend them overseas."

    The ACLU of Massachusetts, meanwhile, says it "will closely monitor this new executive order and assess its validity."

    "President Trump's original executive order stranded travelers, upended families, disrupted businesses and institutions globally, and faced many federal lawsuits," the organization said in a statement. "We remain proud of our urgent work in the last several weeks, and we stay deeply committed to protecting freedoms of all Massachusetts residents — and challenging any actions we believe to be illegal, unconstitutional and dangerous."

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