Democrats in Congress are standing up in powerful opposition to Donald Trump's executive order targeting Muslim immigrants and Syrian refugees, joining protests and promising to fight the ban and protect Americans and refugees alike.
Following Donald Trump’s atrocious Muslim ban and the ensuing massive nationwide protests, Democratic members of Congress are speaking out and taking action. Emboldened by the citizenry, they are introducing legislation to nullify the order, showing that they are willing to bring the fight to the Trump administration and the dangerous new policies emanating from this White House.
Action on the Senate floor began with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declaring the order “antithetical to everything we [Americans] are about” and asking for Unanimous Consent on a bill put forward by fellow Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to overturn the order.
Later, Schumer stood outside the Supreme Court, alongside Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and others, and spoke out forcefully against the ban:
It will make us unsafe because it will encourage those who are lone wolves, as they get more and more isolated, who are our greatest danger. It will make us unsafe because it makes our soldiers who are fighting overseas have fewer allies. And it will make us unsafe because the nations of the world will no longer look up to us. But most of all, it is against what America is all about. America, for its history, has been a shining beacon, and it has said, ‘We welcome you, if you are oppressed because of your religion, because of your political beliefs, because of who you are.’ The lady in the harbor, in the city in which i live, holds a wonderful torch. That torch has stood for the greatness of America to all Americans, and to the citizens of the world. We will not let this evil order extinguish that great torch. We will not let this evil order make us less American. We will fight it with everything we have, and we will win this fight.
After working to get refugees out of detention at New York’s JFK Airport over the weekend, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nydia Valasquez (D-N.Y.) also spoke at the protest. “We must overcome this little man in the White House who is disgracing our history,” Nadler said.
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) January 30, 2017
We must overcome this dark time. We must overcome this little man in the White House, who is disgracing our history and disgracing our traditions. We must continue to welcome people from all over the world, regardless of their race, or their color, or their religion, or their creed, or their national origin. That’s what our Constitution demands, that’s what our law demands, that’s what our people demand, and we will prevail.
And they are indeed fighting to overcome this disgraceful policy.
In conjunction with Feinstein’s bill to overturn Trump’s executive order, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced legislation to withhold funding for the order, saying that the “irresponsible and shameful” policy would be “a recruitment gift [for ISIS] that will ultimately get Americans killed.” Murphy also pointed out that the order had resulted in the detention of two young girls — ages five and eight — who were traveling from Syria as refugees, the same age as his two sons.
In the House, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the “Statue of Liberty Values Act,” or SOLVE Act, which rescinds the executive order by denying funding and fees to pay for it, making it completely toothless.
Democrats are also holding members of the Trump team accountable and demanding information. Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent a letter to newly confirmed head of the Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly, asking that Schiff’s office be notified immediately of the detention of people at LAX, and provide a full explanation of the regulations set forth by this order.
And a group of Senators, led by Claire McCaskill (D-MO), sent a similar letter to Kelly, requesting specific information about how the order applies to legal permanent residents (aka green card holders) and asking that Kelly stop the order until such time as it can be clarified. The other signatories include Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Tom Carper (D-DE), all members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
The White House has struggled to recapture their insistent narrative that this order was done out of concern for American security. In his daily press conference at the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented that the ban had “worked well.”
DNC Senior Adviser Zac Petkanas issued a statement almost immediately, saying, bluntly:
Jihadis, the KKK, neo-Nazi groups and Speaker Paul Ryan are virtually the only ones who believe this order that placed a 5-year-old boy and an 88-year-old blind man in detention worked well.
(Alison R. Parker contributed to this article.)