Members of Congress from New England, dominated by Democrats, have largely opposed President Trump’s executive order on immigration, some in scathing language. Here’s a look at what they’ve said, gathered from public statements, tweets, and comments to local media.
Republican Senator Susan Collins called the order “overly broad” and said implementing it will be “immediately problematic.” Specifically, she said, “it could interfere with the immigration of Iraqis who worked for American forces in Iraq as translators and bodyguards — people who literally saved the lives of our troops and diplomats during the last decade and whose lives are at risk if they remain in Iraq.”
Independent Senator Angus King said through a spokesman that Trump’s actions “don’t protect us but actually compromise our nation’s security.”
Republican Representative Bruce Poliquin was noncommittal about the new policy.
“The congressman will not be voting on these executive orders,” spokesman Brendan Conley told the Bangor Daily News. “His policy in Congress has been to increase border security, end sanctuary cities, and stop Syrian refugee admissions until national security agencies put in place effective processes to ensure that no suspected or potential terrorists are allowed to cross our borders.”
Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree said Trump “has struck terror in the hearts of communities throughout Maine which are strengthened by immigrants and refugees.”
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen called the order “un-American and grossly inhumane.” She argued that the order endangers US troops and diplomats. “Discriminating based on religion and nationality severely undermines the local alliances and trust established by our troops and diplomats in the field. This order is so ill-considered that it is even barring Iraqi civilians who have provided essential assistance to the U.S. mission,” she said.
Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan said the order “runs counter to the fundamental values that make America the greatest country on earth.” She said: “It will also make us less safe. We must always be working to strengthen the vetting process for all entryways into the United States, but discriminating against individuals on the basis of their religion will only harm our national security interests.”
Democratic Representative Carol Shea-Porter called on President Trump to reverse his order. “I condemn President Trump’s decision to reject fundamental American values,” she said.
Democratic Representative Annie Kuster tweeted on Sunday that American should be a “beacon of hope around the world. Urge @realDonaldTrump to honor the values of inclusion that make us truly great.”
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic Representative Peter Welch issued a joint statement, saying they deplored the president’s action. “By imposing a blanket ban on entire nationalities of men, women and children facing horrific violence and devastation, he has allowed fear to triumph over compassion and common sense, they said.”
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren denounced the plan, proclaiming, “We will not turn away children. We will not turn away families. We will not turn away people who try to help Americans.”
Democratic Senator Ed Markey said Trump’s actions “fly in the face of our nation’s history as a beacon to those seeking a better life in America. . . . “Building a border wall, detaining families and children at our border, and turning back asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution are un-American policies and are antithetical to our time-honored values.”
And on Sunday Markey called on the new secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, to denounce and rescind the order.
Democratic Representative Richard Neal tweeted that the travel order is “wrong, divisive and contrary to America’s core values.”
Democratic Representative Jim McGovern tweeted: “President Trump: This is not how we keep America safe. We must end the #MuslimBan now.”
Democratic Representative Niki Tsongas tweeted that the travel ban caps a “week of detrimental actions.”
Democratic Representative Joseph Kennedy III, who attended the Sunday protest in Copley Square, tweeted: Solidarity & strength at #CopleySquare today.
Democratic Representative Katherine Clark called the order “unconscionable” and “unconstitutional.”
Democratic Representative Seth Moulton said Trump’s policies “put our troops’ lives at risk, empower our enemies, and do not put America first.”
Democratic Representative Mike Capuano noted that no refugees from any of the countries targeted on Trump’s list have committed terror acts on US soil.
Democratic Representative Stephen Lynch called Trump’s action “a shameful violation of our Constitution. We are better than this.”
Democratic Representative William Keating said “America is both stronger and truer to its beliefs by rejecting the Trump administration’s executive order which discriminates against an individual religion or nation.”
Democratic Senator Jack Reed said, “As Americans, we must keep faith with the Constitution & reject Trump’s religious test on refugees before it spreads.”
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said, “We all lose when America loses its standing as a place for families fleeing war & persecution to find peace & a chance to build a new life.”
Democratic Representative David Cicilline said Trump has “chosen to cruelly demonize refugees” to “gain a short-term political victory.”
Democratic Representative James Langevin tweeted: “We can’t allow democracy to be compromised.”
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy was unequivocal: “The law is clear. The #MuslimBan is illegal. I will introduce a bill this week to immediately overturn this dangerous, hateful order.”
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal urged Trump on Twitter to reverse course: “Only real solution — President Trump tear up this immoral order.”
Democratic Representative John Larson called Trump’s order “cruel and un-American.”
Democratic Representative Joe Courtney called the order “unconstitutional.”
Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro ridiculed Trump for hosting a screening of the movie “Finding Dory” at the White House over the weekend. “Finding Dory? Maybe @realDonaldTrump should focus on finding compassion.”
Democratic Representative James Himes cheered the work of the ACLU and others challenging Trump’s order. “Lights against the darkness!” he said.
Democratic Representative Elizabeth Esty noted the timing of Trump’s order, on Holocaust Remembrance Day. “That our nation issued a #MuslimBan & abandoned families fleeing terror on Holocaust Remembrance Day will forever stain our history.”Felice Belman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.