WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after President Trump announced an Executive Order stopping refugee admissions into the United States and shutting down visas for seven majority-Muslim nations:
“President Trump ran on a discriminatory and unconstitutional promise of ‘a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’ While he may have changed the fine print, make no mistake: today’s action is a smokescreen for religious discrimination that is entirely contrary to our founding values and core constitutional principles.
“Widows and orphans are not threats to our national security. Muslim Iraqi interpreters put their lives at risk and have saved the lives of innumerable American service members. They have proven their loyalty. The true threat to our national security is surrendering the American values we stand for on the world stage and allowing ISIS to recruit more supporters through the false narrative that America is at war with Islam.
“It’s extremely alarming that this order contains buried language calling for the Pentagon to develop a plan for ‘safe zones’ in Syria and surrounding countries, which many experts believe will require American boots on the ground to protect. Americans have been clear that they don’t want to send their sons and daughters back into another interminable civil war in the Middle East. Trump campaigned against intervention in the Middle East. If he’s changed his mind now that he’s in office, he should be upfront with the American people about his plans, why he intends to send our young men and women into harm’s way, and what the exit strategy will be. Moreover, he should seek Congressional authorization as required by the Constitution.
“The inscription on the base of the Statue of Liberty reads, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ For centuries, America has been a beacon for the oppressed and downtrodden around the world, no matter their faith or country of origin. Trump may try to change our laws, but he cannot change our core values or what our nation stands for. I will continue standing by our Muslim-American community, and I know that millions of other patriotic Americans will too.”