Brooklyn Boro

Many Brooklyn and New York officials trash Trump’s reissued travel ban

Dems say 'Muslim ban' is offensive, immoral & will make country less safe. Donovan, however, supports the ban

March 6, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thousands of Yemenis and their supporters packed into Borough Hall Plaza in February to protest the Trump administration’s travel ban targeting Muslims from seven countries. On Monday, Trump reissued the ban, this time exempting Iraquis. Photo by Mary Frost

President Donald Trump reissued his much-maligned travel ban on Monday, this time excluding Iraqis from the list of majority Muslim countries — Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen — whose citizens and refugees are forbidden from entering the U.S.

Trump said the ban was intended to protect U.S. citizens from terror attacks. But Brooklyn, New York City and state officials ripped into the order as just another assault on Muslims and the U.S. Constitution, and one destined to actually make the country less safe.

“President Trump’s latest attempt at a travel ban is as discriminatory as his first one. The ban is a direct reflection of the President’s misguided ideas about immigrants, refugees and homeland security,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

“The intent of this approach is to broadly vilify a Muslim community central to American life and to our security at home and abroad. Undermining this relationship through indiscriminate travel bans – rather than developing immigration screening capable of targeting real threats – endangers an American moral standard of inclusiveness that underpins our security,” de Blasio said.

The ban will last 90 days until the government can design more “extreme vetting,” according to a statement from Trump.

The new executive order also freezes travel for citizens of those countries who do not have U.S. visas, and suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days. Green card holders are exempted.

“At its heart, this policy is an affront to our national values, makes our country less safe, potentially isolates our allies and will almost certainly not pass constitutional muster,” Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-7) said. “The president may try and change the window dressing with his latest order, but the central thrust remains an offensive, immoral, unconstitutional and un-American policy.”

She added, “We will fight this latest executive order in the courts, in the halls of Congress, in the airports and in the streets.”

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) said the new travel ban was a rehash of the old one.

“The new executive order is anything but. This repackaging of the original executive order is still clearly an unconstitutional and hateful action meant to ban Muslims and refugees from coming to our shores,” she said. “Such hateful acts not only undermine our values and democracy but also threaten American security at home and abroad.”

Comptroller Scott Stringer was equally scathing in his remarks.

“Let’s call this new travel ban what it is: another paper-thin attempt to target people based on where they’re from, what religion they practice, and their cultural heritage,” he said. “It’s another all-out assault on the Constitution, and another attempt to target Muslims. This White House is showing, day after day, that it actively believes in discrimination and supports tearing families apart.

“This order makes us less safe – not more,” he said. “It doesn’t further U.S. interests – it undercuts our standing in the world.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also pledged to fight the ban.

“President Trump’s updated executive order is still coldhearted, discriminatory and detrimental to our security. This order is antithetical to our American values and what the Statue of Liberty stands for,” she said.

A rare Brooklyn Republican, however, Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), says he supports the reissued ban.

“This executive order’s rollout seems smoother and more controlled than the first rollout. The Administration has rightly made adjustments to exempt lawful permanent residents and current visa holders, eliminated the indefinite ban for Syrian refugees, and provided adequate lead time to prepare the agents who will execute the order,” he said in a statement.

Donovan added, “The new order also exempts Iraq, making it clear that our country’s national security leaders are satisfied with changes the Iraqi government made between the first order and today.”

Trump cited the close cooperative relationship between the United States and the Iraqi government and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS to justify his different treatment of the country.

The Department of Homeland Security, in an internal report, has allegedly disputed the idea that nationals from the countries chosen by Trump were more likely to carry out terror-related activities.

Intelligence experts say that very few people from those countries had actually been involved in terrorism-related crimes in the U.S., and that citizenship is no indicator of the likelihood of carrying out terrorist acts.

Chaos followed initial executive order

Widespread condemnation and protests followed Trump’s initial travel ban, which was blocked by the courts, as thousands of confused travelers were stranded at airports around the country.

Brooklyn’s federal court and local officials were in the thick of it. Velazquez and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D- Brooklyn and Manhattan) issued a joint release vowing to “fight this executive order in the streets, in the courts, anywhere, anytime.”

Hundreds of protesters chanted outside the federal courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn in January as Judge Ann Donnelly, federal judge for the Eastern District, issued a temporary stay of the order, the first of several.

In just one of numerous rallies in Brooklyn, thousands of Yemenis and their supporters — waving banners and flags and chanting “USA!” —packed into Borough Hall Plaza.

At a forum sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, protesters shouted down U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan when he tried to explain his support for the president’s controversial move.

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