Feinstein to Introduce Bills in Response to Discriminatory Order on Immigration, Refugees

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today announced that she will introduce two bills in response to President Trump’s discriminatory executive order barring immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program. The executive order prohibits individuals from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen—218 million people—from entering the country. The order was written so broadly that it bars relatives of American families from these seven countries from visiting the United States. The order also halts the Syrian refugee program.

Reports from media, advocacy groups and family members indicate that around 300 people, including children and elderly individuals, were detained at airports across the country on the first day of implementation. However, Customs and Border Protection has yet to release official information on who was detained, making it impossible to know the exact figures.

Those detained include:

An Iraqi refugee who served as a translator for the U.S. military. (JFK airport)
A 78-year-old legal permanent resident of the United States, originally from Iran. (LAX airport)
A 5-year-old Iranian boy. (Dulles airport)

Feinstein’s first bill would rescind the executive order. The second bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ensure additional congressional oversight of the president’s authority to bar classes of people from entering the United States. The president would be required to provide 30 days’ notice to Congress, rationale for taking such an action and an analysis of the potential effects, including social, economic and demographic. The president would also be required to respond to members’ questions about the proposed rationale to bar classes of immigrants.

 Feinstein’s statement follows:

“The president’s blatantly discriminatory executive order should be rescinded immediately. The consequences of this order will be far-reaching and were obviously not carefully considered. People all around the world will be affected, including Americans.

“Members of the Iraqi parliament have already called for U.S. government officials to be barred from the country, and the Iranian prime minister has said his country will take ‘reciprocal measures.’ The president should not be able to take this type of action unilaterally, given the severity of the consequences.

“It’s one thing to screen people before they come to this country. We already do that. It’s quite another to say that individuals who are from a particular country, belong to a particular faith, or are refugees fleeing conflict are banned from the United States. Under this order, only Syrian Christians could be considered for the refugee program.

“There is no legitimate national security reason to ban refugees—the vast majority of whom are women and children who have experienced the absolute worst of humanity. Refugees undergo a rigorous screening process that takes up to two years to complete, and there has not been a single terrorist attack in this country committed by a refugee since 1980.

“Painting more than 200 million people with the same broad brush is contrary to the principles on which this nation was founded and will not make us any safer.”