Democrats in the Senate are planning legislation that would block President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Sen. Christopher Murphy, (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The Washington Post his bill will likely rely on the 1995 Immigration and Nationality Act, which bans discrimination against immigrants based on national origin. “I think ultimately this ban will be struck down by the courts, but we need to put legislation on the table that Republicans could support, that overturns the ban,” Murphy said, calling the executive order “incredibly dangerous.”
On Sunday, Murphy announced via Twitter that he was planning a bill “this week” that would put a stop to what he called Trump’s “dangerous, hateful order.” The Connecticut senator suggested that the U.S. should focus on vetting European citizens with potential terrorist ties rather than issuing a ban on select nations, and should make sure that those who manage to enter the U.S. are unable to get access to weapons, according to NBC News. Murphy also criticized the executive order’s ban on Syrian refugees, saying that while U.S. officials may differ on solutions for the Syrian conflict, they generally have “a long-standing belief that we should rescue people from a fire even if we can’t agree on how to put it out.”
A handful of congressional Republicans have spoken out against the executive order, Fortune magazine reports. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly have indicated they support it.
Conservative Media Say Obama Did It
However, according to various conservative news and political analysis sources, Trump’s executive order only bars all people hailing from Syria. Not the seven Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen—the administration is reportedly looking to bar immigration and visitors from the same list of countries. They cite the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act as part of an omnibus spending bill that was signed by President Obama. The legislation amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide enhanced security measures for the visa waiver program, and for other purposes. According to Townhall, the list of seven countries comes from the Obama administration.
Undoubtedly, Trump’s executive order called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has led to confusion. Members of Congress are calling for discussions on the implementation and guidance concerning the order. “Only two days after the Order was signed, it is clear that it has already led to panic and disorder, not to mention protests. This is apparently due in part to the lack of internal administration review prior to its issuance as well as a lack of clarity and guidance provided thereafter.
NBC reported that the document was not reviewed by DHS, the Justice Department, the State Department, or the Department of Defense and that National Security Council lawyers were prevented from evaluating it. The New York Times has written that “Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services were only given a briefing call while Mr. Trump was signing the actual Executive Order,” House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) wrote in a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.
Democrats Say Order is Confusing on All Accounts
“There continues to be ongoing uncertainty concerning your Department’s compliance with the recently issued court orders. Thus, even though a federal court in Virginia ruled that DHS must “permit lawyers’ access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport,” it was reported U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents continued blocking attorneys from talking to lawful permanent residents detained there,” they went on to say.
Further adding, “there is also widespread confusion regarding the Executive Order’s applicability to green card holders from impacted nations. The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the president’s inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Those caught up included an Iraqi who obtained a special U.S. visa for helping American troops, as well as legal permanent residents who live in the United States and were returning from trips abroad. In interviews with NBC Today, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus added little clarity when he claimed the Order would not apply to permanent residents ‘moving forward,’ but then added they may still be subject to ‘extra vetting at airports.'”