Prominent Indian-American lawmakers have slammed US President Donald Trump’s new executive travel ban order, saying it “does not make US safe” and it “undermines American values without improving security”.
The new order, signed privately by Trump on Monday, bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, dropping Iraq from the previous order in January, and reinstates a temporary blanket ban on all refugees.
The new measures will block citizens of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from obtaining visas for at least 90 days. The order also suspends admission of refugees into the US for 120 days, directing US officials to improve vetting measures for a programme that is already widely regarded as extremely stringent.
It will go into effect from March 16.
California Senator Kamala Harris blasted Trump’s order, saying: “This latest attempt by the Trump administration to ban new immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries, like the first attempt, undermines our nation’s core values, jeopardises our national security, and hurts our economy.”
“This ban does not keep us safe. It puts American lives at risk,” she said.
“Refugees fleeing war and violence, who have cleared a two-year vetting process, should not arrive in the United States only to have the doors shut,” a report by Times of San Diego quoted her as saying.
Harris, an attorney by profession, said ISIS will use the new ban as a recruitment tool while “researchers, engineers, academics, and entrepreneurs” are turned away.
“Omitting one country from the list does not eliminate the need to provide the American people with meaningful evidence supporting this ban. The White House has failed to provide actual justification based on facts.”
Congressman Ro Khanna said: “The Trump Administration’s repackaging is merely a second attempt to revise his unconstitutional policy.”
“This is the same ban, driven by the same hazardous discrimination that weakens our ability to fight terror. The public and courts rejected the Trump administration’s first attempt at this, and it must do so again,” he said.
Democratic US Representative Ami Bera also slammed the new order. “My job is to keep our country safe, and this kind of ban on travel does not enhance our national security — in fact it makes us less safe.”
“This is a bad second attempt at an executive order that is just as un-American and xenophobic as the first version that was struck down by multiple courts,” he said in a statement.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said that Trump has been forced to recognise that his original travel ban was both “unconstitutional” and “ineptly” executed.
“The new order recognises that we must honour the visas of those who already have been given clearance to come to the US, as well as excludes legal permanent residents and dual citizens affected by the ban,” she said in a statement.
“It also excludes Iraq from the list of the banned countries, another clear sign that such a ban would hurt our coalition efforts for peace in the Middle East. It should not have taken the courts and nationwide protests to stop such an order from taking effect in the first place,” she said.
The President was “irresponsible” in “throwing” the country into chaos and putting fear in the hearts of millions of families, she added.