E-Newsletter: Unconstitutional Muslim Ban Must Be Stopped

Feb 3, 2017

Unconstitutional Muslim Ban Must Be Stopped 

Representatives Nadler and Velazquez stand with newly released Iraqi translator, Hameed Darweesh.

Last Saturday morning, I, like thousands of New Yorkers, was disturbed to read the New York Times story of two Muslim men being detained at JFK International Airport as a result of Donald Trump's Executive Order the night before. Joining with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, we rushed to JFK to see if there was any help we could provide. Our intention was simply to help make sure the detainees were being allowed access to their legal representatives - little did we know the full extent of the situation at JFK or across the country.

By 2 PM Saturday, Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi translator who helped U.S. forces on the ground but was being detained at the airport as a result of Trump's Executive Order barring his entry, was released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Walking outside JFK's Terminal 4 with Mr. Darweesh, we found a crowd of thousands had spontaneously gathered since the morning to show its support for the detainees. A few hours later, Mr. Haider Alshawi, the second detainee, was also released, and as the day continued similar scenes were found at airports across the country with many offices reaching out to us for advice on how to help detainees caught by this order. 

It is difficult to put into words how moved I was at the outpouring of support from the thousands of people who joined us over the weekend, and by the millions more who have voiced their outrage at the President’s actions. This week, my Democratic colleagues and I attempted to force a vote in the House to rescind the Executive Order, and, though the Majority blocked it, we have demanded that the House Judiciary Committee hold hearings on the ban and are working to introduce legislation that will block the order entirely. The United States has always been, and must continue to be, a place of refuge that welcomes people of all religions and nationalities, and I will continue working to make sure those values and ideals are upheld.

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