January 31, 2017

Cardin, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Rescind Discriminatory Order on Immigration, Refugees

Republicans block Senate vote on bill

WASHINGTON — Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today cosponsored a bill to rescind President Trump’s discriminatory executive order barring immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program.

In addition to Senator Cardin, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Senator Schumer requested Monday evening that the Senate immediately vote on the bill. The request was denied by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Under Senate rules, if any senator objects, the bill can’t move forward.

Senate Democrats plan to introduce additional legislation soon to ensure additional congressional oversight of the president’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Cardin delivered remarks on President Trump's immigration orders at last night's press conference in front of the Supreme Court:

"If the last ten days are any indication, the Trump Administration is on track to be the most dangerous and divisive in history. And nothing so painfully illustrates that point as Friday’s executive order banning refugees and certain Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.

"Fear and uncertainty was palpable across the country this weekend, and it remains today. 

"As a citizen of this great nation I am deeply offended by and ashamed of the President’s executive action.

"I’ve heard from constituents who were temporarily detained and arrested, or whose loved ones had scheduled, legal travel to the United States but were unsure if they should board their planes for fear of being arrested or turned around once they arrived.

"I’m aware of students studying legally here in the United States, who suddenly found their entire futures in jeopardy because of their nationality.

"Maryland is proud to host world-class universities like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland – colleges that are enriched by the contributions and perspectives of foreign citizens.

"Permanent legal residents, who endure a lengthy process to acquire their green card and make the United States their home, were suddenly unsure if they were welcome anymore.

"And I was particularly troubled when two Iraqi citizens who had played critical roles in supporting American forces in Iraq and were travelling on valid visas, were denied entry into New York.

"What do they get for helping our brave men and women with translation and security services? A big, ugly ‘not welcome’ sign at JFK airport. Adding insult to injury, their immediate families were already here in the United States.

"The cumulative effect of this executive order is enough to make your stomach churn, because what President Trump tried to do was legalize discrimination based on religion and nationality.

"Its intent is clear and malign.

"The President’s 4-month freeze in place on ALL refugees entering the United States, singling out refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries for extra screening, fails to acknowledge or speak about the thorough, 18-to-24 month screening process that refugees from dangerous countries such as Iraq and Syria already endure before they come to our nation.

"It is harder to enter the United States as a refugee than on any other visa we have.

"My staff’s communication with Cabinet agencies over the weekend was extremely troubling. The left hand did not know what the right hand was doing in the Trump Administration. In its zeal to play politics and inflame the fears of Americans who feel threatened, the White House revealed how little they know or care about governing.

"It is absolutely clear that the President of the United States has a fundamental misunderstanding of America’s leading role in refugee resettlement.

"The United States is a nation of immigrants and refugees of all and no faiths.

"We are the nation that received refugees from the Holocaust after the Second World War. We are the nation that opened our doors to hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing conflicts and political oppression in El Salvador, Cuba, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

"Democrats have always supported extensive vetting of those coming into our country to make sure that we are safe here at home.

"But everyone should be clear that Trump’s new policy that actually makes us less safe. It’s a dangerous and shortsighted policy that erodes our moral leadership, undermines our core values and traditions, and harms our national security as well as our alliances and partnerships worldwide.

"This is not the kind of America that Americans or frankly the world deserves."

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