January 29, 2017

Senators Murray and Harris Lead Senate Democrats Calling on President Trump to Revoke Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON, D.C - Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) led a coalition of more than half of the Senate Democratic Caucus to urge President Trump to immediately revoke the Executive Order on refugees as it runs "counter to what truly makes America great." The letter details the manner in which it runs counter to America's values, as well as national security and economic interests, by restricting more than 200 million people from entering our country with no clear evidence that it will make our nation more secure. The letter asserts the Executive Order constitutes a Muslim ban, and is fundamentally un-American and discriminatory.

The Senators wrote:

"We are writing to express our outrage with the Executive Order you signed on January 27, 2017 ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"), which constitutes a Muslim ban. The text of this document and its haphazard implementation both run counter to our American values and the Constitution, as well as our national security and economic interests, by restricting more than 200 million people from entering our country with no clear evidence that it will make our nation more secure. Westrongly urge you to immediately revoke the Executive Order.

"As a nation of immigrants that has opened our doors to those fleeing oppression and violence for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents, this Executive Order is antithetical to our values and runs counter to what truly makes America great. America's diversity is the defining element of its culture, its history, and its families. The richness of our diversity as a nation of immigrants is fundamental to the fabric of American culture and has been an essential element of our collective history, including that of your own family. Executive action that denies entry to refugees escaping violence and oppression with an explicit preference for people of one religion over another is unconscionable and unconstitutional."

Along with Sens. Murray and Harris, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tom Udall (D-NM).

Full text of theletteris below:

January 30, 2017

Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington D.C., 20500

Mr. President,

We are writing to express our outrage with the Executive Order you signed on January 27, 2017 ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"), which constitutes a Muslim ban. The text of this document and its haphazard implementation both run counter to our American values and the Constitution, as well as our national security and economic interests, by restricting more than 200 million people from entering our country with no clear evidence that it will make our nation more secure. Westrongly urge you to immediately revoke the Executive Order.

As a nation of immigrants that has opened our doors to those fleeing oppression and violence for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents, this Executive Order is antithetical to our values and runs counter to what truly makes America great. America's diversity is the defining element of its culture, its history, and its families. The richness of our diversity as a nation of immigrants is fundamental to the fabric of American culture and has been an essential element of our collective history, including that of your own family. Executive action that denies entry to refugees escaping violence and oppression with an explicit preference for people of one religion over another is unconscionable and unconstitutional.

The denial of entry into the United States for Legal Permanent Residents and valid visa holders raises significant legal concerns, as does the denial of due process to those being held at U.S. ports-of-entry. Additionally, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution is quite clear that the government may not prefer one religious denomination over another, which this Executive Order manifestly does. Moreover, the issuance of such an order on Holocaust Remembrance Day is an additional affront to those who have chosen to learn the valuable lessons of history. When America chooses to shut its doors to those fleeing oppression, we choose to be culpable in the human tragedies suffered by those we turned away.

Without question, we are committed to preventing individuals who wish to do us harm from being able to enter the United States. This threat is real and demands unyielding vigilance. But closing our borders to refugees and valid visa-holders will not make our nation more secure. Since 1975, there have been no fatal attacks on U.S. soil perpetrated by foreign nationals from any of the seven countries identified in the executive order - Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. The overwhelming majority of refugees are women, children, and families fleeing the same terror and violence we are dedicated to prevent from occurring in the United States.

As you know, the robust process for vetting refugees is more thorough than for any other category of individuals seeking to enter the United States. Refugees do not jeopardize our security - to the contrary, they have made our nation more secure by increasing vital ties between Americans, non-Americans, and minority religious communities and building goodwill between populations.

This Executive Order will undermine our national security objectives by providing terrorist organizations with a rallying cry and recruitment tool. By sending a message to Muslims worldwide that they will be discriminated against and turned away by the U.S. government, this Executive Order feeds the false narrative espoused by extremists that America is at war with Islam. In addition, it diminishes our alliances by undermining a multilateral response to the global refugee crisis and will likely cause our allies - including those in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere fighting ISIS - to question our leadership, partnership, and intentions in combating global terror. The vast majority of national security experts agree - this Executive Order will only embolden terrorists and thus increase threats against the United States.

Finally, this Executive Order will unquestionably damage our economy. Business leaders across the country have expressed grave concern about the economic impact of the ban and its immediate disruption to innovation and growth in the United States. Similarly, top universities across the country have expressed deep concern about their status and well-being of foreign-born students whose green-cards and visas may now be called into question, including those who may no longer be permitted to enter or leave the United States.

Mr. President, this Executive Order is fundamentally un-American, discriminatory, and an unconscionable violation of our values. It has instilled fear in our communities, and jeopardizes both our national security and economy. We therefore demand you revoke the Executive Order immediately.

Click here for a PDF version of this letter.

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