Congressman Nadler Statement Condemning Trump’s “Unconstitutional, Discriminatory, Morally Reprehensible and Dangerously Stupid” Executive Order

Jan 30, 2017 Issues: Trump, Civil Liberties, Homeland Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who along with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez went to JFK airport Saturday morning to help secure the release of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Alshawi, delivered the following remarks outside the U.S. Supreme Court condemning Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslim entry into the United States:

"Thank you, Leader Pelosi and Senator Schumer.  My name is Jerrold Nadler, and I represent New York’s 10th Congressional District, the home of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Those symbols of America’s proud tradition of welcoming people to our shores are a little beaten and battered today, thanks to Donald Trump.

"When the President signed his dangerously stupid Executive Order Friday afternoon, I knew that it was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and morally reprehensible.  What I did not know was that people all over this country would join together so quickly to fight this outrageous policy, and to help those in need.  That gives me great hope that our country can overcome this dark time.

"Saturday morning, when news first broke that people were being detained at the airports, I rushed to JFK Airport, along with Congresswoman Velazquez.  Within hours, we were joined by hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice.  What we found was chaos and heartbreak.  Refugees, people with valid visas, and even legal permanent residents, were prevented from entering the country, or even from speaking with their attorneys.  

"People like Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who put his life on the line for ten years to work with American and Coalition forces as a translator.  He underwent a years-long, extensive vetting process to secure a Special Immigrant Visa, granted to people who assist our military in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In return for his efforts, this hero was welcomed to the United States with a door slammed in his face, and a grueling ordeal at the airport as he pleaded for his freedom.  I am pleased that Congressman Velazquez and I were able to work with officials in New York and Washington to secure his release, but we should never have had to do that.  That is not the country we are proud to represent in Congress.

"Unfortunately, many more people are facing similar situations across the country.  And the chaos and confusion continues.  In my experience, Customs and Border Protection agents, many of whom sincerely tried to be helpful, were utterly confused about what they were required to do, and who should be admitted.  It was clear that this Executive Order is not only shameful, it is also poorly drafted and unclear.

"Thanks to the work of many dedicated lawyers across the country, we have secured some positive rulings in the courts that will temporarily ease some of the confusion and personal tragedy, but it is not clear that all agents are fully complying with these Orders.  And these are just temporary measures.  We must stay vigilant and continue to shed light on any attempts to subvert the law.

"And we must fight to overturn this whole Muslim ban – and despite what this President says, let’s be honest, it is a Muslim ban.  It is discriminatory and dangerously stupid.  It will actually make us less safe, as it hands ISIS a perfect example for its propaganda machine, and it alienates our Muslim allies who are aiding us in the war against terror.

"We stand here today as Members of Congress ready to fight the Trump agenda of hate and fear.  I wish we could look around and see our Republican colleagues joining us but, with a few exceptions, the silence in that caucus has been deafening.  In the meantime, Democrats will fight and we will win – we must win – because the cause is righteous and the need is great."

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