WASHINGTON – President Trump’s executive order suspending US refugee program and banning immigrants from seven Muslim countries has drew widespread condemnation from Muslim civil rights groups, Democrats and immigrant as a clear Muslim ban.
“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” Lena F. Masri, Esq., National Litigation Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net,
“This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.”
In his speech at the Pentagon on Friday, Trump announced the immigration overhaul, adding that his ultimate goal was to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States.
He claimed that the ban was one way to honor “the sacrifices made by Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.”
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he said.
“We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
The executive order shuts US refugee program for 120 days, during which the departments of State and Homeland Security will work with the FBI and the CIA to develop “enhanced vetting” to screen people seeking refugee status.
People from Syria will remain barred from entering the US, as the only country singled out in Trump’s order.
“I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the order read. Syrians will be barred until Trump feels that “sufficient changes” have been made to screening procedures.
CAIR announced the filing of a federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 individuals challenging the “Muslim ban” executive order signed today by President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit, to be filed in the U.S. District Court – Western District of Virginia, will challenge the constitutionality of the order because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“The courts must do what President Trump will not—ensure that our government refrains from segregating people based on their faith,” said Attorney Gadeir Abbas, Esq., who is co-counsel on the lawsuit.
“Our First Amendment is under attack. We, as attorneys, are foot soldiers of the American Constitution and took an oath to protect all from being targeted by the government because of their faith,” said Attorney Shereef Akeel, Esq., who is also co-counsel on the lawsuit.
The order drew widespread condemnation from Democrats, immigrant and civil rights groups around the world.
“Make no mistake – this is a Muslim ban,” Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said, USA Today reported on Friday, January 27.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., added, “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight.”
David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said the order was completely unnecessary since the U.S. already has the “strongest, most successful” resettlement program in the world.
“In truth, refugees are fleeing terror — they are not terrorists,” Miliband said.
“And at a time when there are more refugees than ever, America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”
President Obama had increased the refugee resettlement program during his time in office, increasing the cap from 60,000 to 70,000 to 85,000 in 2016. He reserved 10,000 of those spots for refugees from Syria.
While Trump has claimed that most Syrian refugees coming to the US are single, military-age men, the State Department figures were much different.
As of Nov. 2015, 77 per cent of Syrian refugees who entered the US were women and children. Only 23% were adult men, and only 2 per cent were “single men unattached to families.”