CT lawmakers reject Trump’s new travel ban

Washington – Connecticut’s federal lawmakers – all Democrats – unanimously rejected President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, which his administration hopes will survive any challenge in court.

The new executive order, signed by the president Monday, targets travelers from six majority-Muslim countries and no longer restricts travel from Iraq, one of seven listed in the original order. The 90-day ban now is limited to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. The first order was implemented immediately, but this one won’t take effect for 10 days, until March 16.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, immediately tweeted, “Version 2 of the ban still targets Muslims, still inspires more terrorism, still violates our founding principles. Oh, and still illegal.”

In a statement Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would revise legislation he introduced in January that would block the executive order.

“President Trump is handing ISIS recruitment gold and is putting American lives at risk,” Murphy said. “Our enemies’ dream is to paint a picture of global war between Islam and the West, and today’s travel ban plays right into their hands. I will immediately revise and re-introduce my bill to block its implementation.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, also tweeted her rejection of the new travel ban.

“No matter how you cut it, @realDonaldTrump‘s redo of his executive order on refugees and immigrants is just as shameful as his first,” she tweeted.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “This new Muslim ban is the same old policy cloaked in a different legal dress.”

“It still raises questions about an unconstitutional religious test, and suffers from many of the same legal defects,” Blumenthal said. “This policy threatens to alienate our critical allies abroad, and discourages Muslim immigrants at home from cooperating with law enforcement to fight terrorist violence. Above all: it betrays American values.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the new ban is “lawful” and necessary because, he said, 300 terrorism suspects under FBI investigation came into the United States as refugees.

“Like every nation, the United States has the right to control who enters the country and to keep out those who would do us harm,” Sessions said.

But Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, called the new ban “immoral, inhumane, and fundamentally un-American,” and pressed GOP leaders to allow a vote on legislation that would overturn it.

“Just like the first order, today’s action is a dangerous strategic blunder that weakens our nation while strengthening our enemies,” Esty said. “If it is not swiftly overturned, this executive order will undermine our counterterrorism efforts, diminish our standing in the world, and put the lives of our troops at risk.”

The Trump administration spent weeks drafting the revised ban, coordinating with the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security to avoid the chaos that followed the first order, signed on Jan. 27.

That first order caused confusion at the nation’s airports, snarling air travel for thousands.

The new ban explicitly exempts legal permanent residents, people who are dual-citizens of another country not included in the ban, foreign nationals traveling for diplomatic purposes, and those who already have a valid visa to come to the United States.

Like other Democrats, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, said the ban undermines U.S. counter-terrorism efforts by hurting relationships with Muslim partners.

Himes decried “the flimsy ‘fixes’ the Administration incorporated to the order [to] try to cover its flawed premise, its fundamental lack of humanity, and undermining of American values with minor technical adjustments.”

“Allowing entry to green-card holders, current visa holders and other permanent residents should never have been in question,” he said.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, also said the ban hurt U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

 “Our moderate allies from Muslim-majority nations have repeatedly warned President Trump that these rash orders damage our standing to lead the anti-ISIS collation and other counter-terrorism activities around the globe,” Courtney said.  “Whatever advantage the Trump administration thinks they have gained with tweaking the prior order is not going to change the backlash we will inevitably experience overseas.”

Rep. John Larson, D-1st District,  said, “Protecting our nation must always remain our top priority.”

“However, the President’s executive order on the suspension of world-wide refugee processing and admissions of travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries is misguided,” Larson said. “The order announced today again falls short of American values and only undermines our alliances in the fight against terrorism while emboldening radical terrorist groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda.”

 Gov. Dannel Malloy also slammed the ban.

“It is disappointing that President Trump continues to fail to recognize our nation’s moral obligation to resettle refugees who are fleeing destruction and despair in their homelands,” he said. “Furthermore, it is mystifying that the Trump administration has given so much energy and focus during the first 46 days in order to pursue a 90-day stay to review vetting processes. This time and effort would have been better spent to implement such improvements immediately, which also would have saved the United States from further international embarrassment.”

One aspect of the executive order would affect many more than those in the six Muslim countries listed. The order cuts the number of worldwide refugees the United States will accept annually from 110,000 under the Obama administration to 50,000.

There is opposition to the ban from U.S. Muslim and immigrant rights groups and other organizations.

Juan Hernandez, District Leader of 32BJ SEIU Connecticut, part of the largest unions representing immigrant workers in the country, also slammed the ban.

“Trump’s cosmetic tweaks to the Muslim ban don’t change the fact that banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, and blocking entry of asylum-seekers, are horrendous ideas that run counter to our identity as a nation and our core values as Americans,” Hernandez said.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. to include additional comments.

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