Cantwell, Murray Take Action to Block President Trump’s Harmful Executive Order on Immigration

Bill to Rescind Executive Order Objected to by Senate Republicans

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) co-sponsored two bills by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to block President Trump’s harmful ban on refugees, visitors, and immigrants from certain Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.

The Feinstein bill would rescind the Executive Order. However, on the Senate Floor today, Senate Republicans objected to voting on the bill.

The Murphy bill would withhold any funding to enforce the executive order and makes clear the order is illegal based on the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which banned discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.

“President Trump’s executive order on immigration flies in the face of our core American values,” said Senator Cantwell. “These bills will ensure Trump’s executive orders do not go into effect. America must continue to be a leader on human rights and we must do our part to help Syrian refugees and all fleeing persecution.”

“What unfolded at Sea-Tac International Airport and in airports around the U.S. this weekend is nothing short of appalling and un-American. I met with the family of somebody who was turned away from our country this weekend, and I saw first-hand the grief and confusion this executive order has caused. We cannot stand for this—and I applaud the many peaceful demonstrators and lawyers who rushed to our airports to defend our democracy and help the people who have come to our country seeking refuge,” said Senator Murray.

Early Sunday, two men were detained at Sea-Tac airport as a result of the Executive Order. The travelers, a Yemeni and a Saudi, were subsequently released following a court order. In addition— one traveler, of Somali origin, was denied entry to the U.S. Saturday and sent to Vienna as a result of the Executive Order. More than 1,000 people gathered at the airport to protest the detentions.

The bill was introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). Senators Cantwell and Murray were joined as original cosponsors by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). The legislation complements two measures set to be introduced by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

In addition, Senators Murray and Cantwell called on President Trump in a letter to immediately revoke the Executive Order on refugees as it runs “counter to what truly makes America great.” The letter details the manner in which it runs counter to America’s values, as well as national security and economic interests, by restricting more than 200 million people from entering our country with no clear evidence that it will make our nation more secure.  The letter asserts the Executive Order constitutes a Muslim ban, and is fundamentally un-American and discriminatory.

According to the Executive Director of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), there are 100,000 to 150,000 Muslims in the state. In addition, since 2003, Washington state has received over 32,000 refugees, mostly from Middle Eastern or majority-Muslim countries. Washington was the 8th largest refugee-receiving state in 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute.