California Democrats Draft Legislation to Fight Trump Immigration Ban

Protesters at LAX hold signs during a demonstration against the first travel ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan. 27, 2017.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California's Democratic representatives in Washington, D.C. are leading the fight against President Donald Trump's controversial executive order on immigration, saying they will introduce legislation rolling back the directive today.

Silicon Valley Rep. Zoe Lofgren said she will unveil legislation this afternoon and is reaching out to both Democratic and Republican colleagues for co-sponsors to nullify the ban.

Trump's order sought to freeze the admittance of all refugees, suspend immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries and require a review before legal permanent residents of the U.S. can return to the country. It's sudden implementation Friday caused chaos at airports as customs officials -- who had no warning of the changes -- struggled to interpret its effects, and sparked protests across the nation.

Lofgren said she expects Senate legislation being drafted by California Senator Dianne Feinstein and others to include language similar to her proposal.

"It's really very simple, (the legislation) would reverse the order by providing that no funds could be used to enforce the order and stating that the executive order would have no effect or force of law," she said. "We are reaching out to Republican members in the hopes that this could get enough Republican cosponsors that we could actually enact it but again that’s up to the Republican leadership."

Sponsored

The prospect of gaining Republican support is unclear. While House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the ban over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a note of caution, saying there should not be a religious test for entering the U.S. but refusing to criticize the president's order.

Meanwhile, some Republican representatives from California are also defending the order -- while others have remained notably silent.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Viaslia, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, called the executive order "a common-sense security measure to prevent terror attacks on the homeland."

He added, though that "accommodations should be made for green card holders and those who’ve assisted the U.S. armed forces."

Elk Grove Republican Rep. Tom McClintock also supports the President's ban.

And San Diego Congressman Darrell Issa told CNN that while the rollout wasn't "perfectly executed" he supports its goals -- particularly the provisions that effectively give preference to Christian refugees.

"Under the Obama administration, it did seem like Christians, even though they were having their heads chopped off, they were finding it harder to get into the United States than Muslims. So I think we have to be religious blind other than the fact that majorities are not refugees, minorities are refugees," Issa said on CNN.

Trump has focused on Christian refugees even though the majority of people suffering at the hands of ISIS are Muslims.

Many Congressional Republicans from California -- including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield -- have not publicly commented on the executive order.

But Modesto Republican Rep. Jeff Denham raised questions about the order in a series of tweets this morning:

Lofgren said she's hopeful that Republicans will join her in calling for a reversal of the ban.

"They have to live with their own consciences but what the president has done makes the United States less safe. It has created a sense of chaos, it violates the law, has constitutional defects and needs to be reversed," she said. "So they can contemplate that and decide what their responsibility is."

Lofgren said she's particularly troubled by the confusion over whether green card holders -- people with permanent legal residence in the U.S. -- are being subjected to the order. There's been conflicting signals from White House over how those legal residents are impacted. Lofgren said any delay or ban raises equal protection issues.

"There’s a very serious equal protection issue, that you’re barred -- if you went to a funeral you're barred from coming home to your house and job -- I mean that’s not the due process that’s envisioned in the Congress," she said. 

Democratic state leaders in California are also vowing to fight the ban. New Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he is joining with attorneys general from 15 other states to "use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values."

He predicted that the order will be struck down in court.

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump's unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith," he stated. "Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth."

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.