WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American members of Congress have issued the following statements in opposition to President Trump’s executive orders barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries for at least 90 days and suspending the U.S. refugee program indefinitely:
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Donald Trump can deny it all he wants, but we understand him loud and clear. This is a Muslim ban, and it’s deeply wrong. If we don’t speak out against Trump’s Muslim ban now, we will be complicit in what comes next. President Trump must rescind this despicable, immoral executive order immediately.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “Make no mistake — this is a Muslim ban. Broad-brush discrimination against refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, most of whom are women and children, runs counter to our national security interests, and will likely be used as a terrorist recruitment tool.
“Opening our doors to those fleeing war and oppression has been the policy of presidents of both parties for decades. This moral leadership enhances our ability to shape world events, promotes global stability, and makes us stronger at home. Whether it’s a small-business owner in Sacramento employing fellow Californians or a student in Los Angeles completing cutting-edge research, refugees are contributing to our country and our economy. They enrich our communities; they do not make us less safe.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) — “As a child, I witnessed the refugee crisis borne out of people fleeing the Khmer Rouge and Pathet Lao in Southeast Asia with my own eyes. I’m proud that our nation acted during that crisis to take in refugees, but I remain motivated by the knowledge that we could have done much, much more.
“The Statue of Liberty isn’t engraved with ‘Do not enter’ signs, it is proudly emblazoned with ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.’ This is a quintessential American value and though we’ve not always lived up to our ideals, the president would do well to remember that we cannot afford to turn our backs on them, especially today [Jan. 27] — Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“We are a nation that leads with strength — a nation that knows ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ — not a nation that cowers in fear when faced with difficult choices. The America that I know is not one that slams its doors on families and children fleeing barbarism and terror, but one that shines brightly as a beacon of hope for all human beings.
“Giving in to our fears, as the president has done, is not the action of a strong country. Today’s order will ultimately serve to weaken our own national security, playing into our enemy’s hands and helping convince another generation of young people simply seeking safety that America is at war with them.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “A sweeping denial of refuge to families facing persecution and bloodshed abroad is not an effective way to protect our citizens. My first priority is always the safety of the American people, and to be clear, refugees already undergo more rigorous security screenings than any other traveler or immigrant to the U.S.
“President Trump’s decision to target immigrants from Muslim-majority countries goes against the essential right to religious liberty that is a founding principle of our nation.
“We can, and we must, protect Americans while also recognizing the basic humanity of all people.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove): “This executive order is a dramatic overreach that lacks understanding of and respect for our constitution, and goes against the core of what makes us Americans. As a member of Congress, it is my duty to speak out against actions that I believe are un-American, and I urge my colleagues — both Democrats and Republicans — to do the same.
“Law-abiding, documented residents of our country are facing chaos and instability. The uncertainty this has created among workers, students, and at our airports is wreaking havoc on families and businesses. The message this sends internationally does not reflect who we are as a nation of immigrants — we do not close our doors to those who are fleeing persecution, or target people based on their faith.
“Since being elected, my office and I have helped constituents navigate a wide range of immigration issues, and we are here to continue to help.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “It’s sad that President Trump signed an order banning refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day. What makes us great is being open to immigrants regardless of race or creed. I am working with colleagues to reverse these policies that are not consistent with our founding ideals.”
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “Thanks to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, the symbol of his America is no longer the Statue of Liberty, holding her torch high for the huddled masses of the world. Instead, it must be the Syrian widow and child condemned to die in a war they cannot escape. Or the Iranian student forbidden from returning to class. All because of where they were born, or who they worship.
“That is Donald Trump’s America, but it is not ours. We believe America is a home for those fleeing religious persecution, not another home for those perpetuating it!”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “President Trump’s executive order turns America’s back to the suffering of thousands of men, women, and children fleeing unspeakable violence. The ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Syria requires us to rise to the occasion and demonstrate our commitment to standing up for victims of oppression around the world. Instead, we are sending a messaging to desperate families that they are on their own. This is a shameful moral failure that will feed into anti-American rhetoric and damage our security at home and our interests abroad.
“The truth is the United States already thoroughly vets all refugees and all foreign citizens requesting a visa. President Trump will soon realize that the policy of ‘extreme vetting’ he advanced during the campaign has been U.S. policy for several years.
“As the descendent of parents and grandparents imprisoned in Japanese American internment camps, I am sickened by the use of collective punishment against all citizens of a certain nationality. This executive order is plainly un-American and plays to our worst instincts of tribalism and nationalism.
“On its own, this executive order marks a terrible moment for our country and a stain on our legacy. But for President Trump to sign this order on International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an insult to the memories of the Jewish refugees who were murdered when too few nations stepped up to shelter them.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles): “Today’s [Jan. 27] executive order by President Trump using extreme vetting and banning refugees from many majority Muslim countries is offensive and a monumental waste of federal resources. Having served on active duty, we are taught that to defeat the enemy, we first need to know our enemy. Our enemies are terrorist groups such as ISIS and AL Qaeda, not children, women and senior citizens fleeing those groups.
“The chances of being struck by lightning TWICE is 1 in 9 million. The chances of being killed by a refugee committing a terrorist act is 1 in 3.6 billion. These facts lead me to conclude that Trump’s action is not based on national security, it is based on bigotry. Lady Liberty is crying.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “Last night [Jan. 30], while House and Senate Democratic lawmakers were on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court calling upon President Trump to reverse his anti-refugee and anti-immigrant executive orders, the president was hatching a plan to fire the acting attorney general for putting the law of the land and the U.S. Constitution before his executive orders. House Democrats are committed to reversing President Trump’s executive orders.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “We shouldn’t ban refugees from entering our country. We need to responsibly ensure thorough vetting is in place, but more importantly, we need to stop the regime-change war that is causing people to flee their country. They would much rather be home, in peace. That’s why I’m working so hard to end our counterproductive regime-change war in Syria that has caused such tremendous suffering, death, and refugees, and has strengthened groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
Rep. Jamila Prayapal (D-Wash.): “This executive order is absolutely inhumane and barbaric. President Trump has banned men, women, and children seeking better lives from accessing the American dream. His xenophobic policies are not only causing mass chaos and uncertainty at our ports but exacerbating fears in the hearts of Muslims across the country.
“This is not the America I know. We are a compassionate nation that welcomes people with open arms, no matter their nationality or religion. We will not let this president destroy our American values. In the streets and in the courts, we will fight these policies to the bitter end by building a mountain of resistance against him.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “Because of President Trump’s executive order, American citizens, people living here legally, and their families, have been detained by the U.S. government. Many of those who have been detained today are people have made their lives here. They have followed the law and played by the rules. Most are green card holders and legal permanent U.S. residents. They are employees and business owners whose detention has a severe economic impact.
“President Trump’s executive order must not stand.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “The decision by a federal judge to temporarily block this unconstitutional and un-American executive order was a great victory. But we must make sure that it is overturned for good, and this legislation [the No Funds for Unconstitutional Executive Orders Act]would make that happen. I urge all my colleagues to support this bill.”