Oregon’s Democratic leaders are strongly condemning the Trump administration’s executive order temporarily blocking refugees from around the world and any visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined with Democratic attorneys general from 15 other states to decry Trump’s order as “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful” and to pledge to try to “ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”
U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Gov. Kate Brown also issued statements taking aim at the executive order.
The CEOs of some of Oregon’s biggest companies — Nike, Intel, and Columbia Sportswear — have reacted negatively as well in memos sent to their employees.
Oregon’s lone Republican in Congress, Rep. Greg Walden, however, offered mild praise for the order and what Trump says is its intent.
“The number one job of the president is to keep America safe,” Walden said in a prepared statement. “While I, too, seek additional clarity on the details of the President’s plan, we need to make sure that extremists who seek to do us harm are not able to infiltrate a system designed for legitimate visitors, refugees, and immigrants.”
Conversely, DeFazio said in a prepared statement that Trump’s order was “ill-conceived and unlawful” and that it “grossly missed its mark in an apparent attempt to strengthen our national security.”
DeFazio said the U.S. screening process for foreign visitors “is already one of the most thorough.”
“The worst terrorist attack on our nation, 9/11, was carried out by radicals from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the (United Arab Emirates),” he said. “The attacks in San Bernardino were carried out by a Pakistani terrorist and an American-born terrorist. None of the procedures put in place by (Trump) would have prevented any of these attacks.”
“The executive order uses false rhetoric and preys upon Americans’ fears without doing anything to address the real terrorist threats,” DeFazio added.
Wyden, in posts on Twitter, said “banning refugees fleeing persecution is unequivocally un-American and does not make us safer.”
Merkley, meanwhile, said the order is a “smokescreen for religious discrimination.”
“Widows and orphans are not threats to our national security,” he said in a prepared statement. “Muslim Iraqi interpreters put their lives at risk (for U.S. military personnel) 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,” Merkley added.
Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, recalled his parents’ flight from Nazi Germany in a memo that went out to the company’s staff on Monday.
“When it comes to fundamental debates about freedom, tolerance and security, I expect people of all parties in government to work across their differences and help us move forward together,” he wrote. “People of good faith in different parties and different branches of government ought to be able to do this, while at the same time, protecting all of the fundamental principles that brought us here, including freedom of belief, expression and due process.”