WILMINGTON, Del. – Hours after President Trump’s harmful travel restrictions on foreigners from eight countries were set to go into effect, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined 27 senators on Wednesday in introducing legislation to reverse Trump’s executive order and block its implementation. Specifically, the bill – which is similar to a bill Senators Carper and Coons cosponsored in March - would withhold funding to enforce the executive order. The bill also declares the executive order illegal based on the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which banned discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin. Trump’s executive order was set to kick in at midnight on October 18, 2017, but judges in Hawaii and Maryland successfully stopped the ban from being enforced.
“Categorically denying entry into our country to a group of people based on their religion or ethnicity doesn’t do one bit to make us safer. Actually, President Trump’s travel ban jeopardizes our national security by playing right into the hands of ISIS and other anti-American extremist groups. If we are to be successful in countering the propaganda of violent extremists and eradicating terrorism, we must remind the world of the principals and values that the United States holds dear,” Senator Carper said. “This administration has repeatedly failed to present Congress with a compelling national security reason to apply blanket bans to individuals from countries around the globe. We in Congress need to do everything we can to ensure this harmful and uninformed campaign promise never sees the light of day.”
“This executive order from the President, just like the similar ones before it, is based on fear, not facts, and it discriminates against people simply because of their faith. It’s un-American, plain and simple,” said Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Appropriations and Judiciary committees. “This action by the President also makes us less safe by giving extremist groups a perfect recruiting tool and by telling the world that we won’t open our doors to refugees simply seeking safety for themselves and their families.”
In addition to Carper and Coons, the following senators cosponsored the legislation: U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
A panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit blocked President Trump’s previous immigration order, citing that the ban “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also released a memo concluding that citizenship in one of the Muslim-majority countries listed on President Trump’s travel ban is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the U.S.