Connecticut lawmakers move to cut funding for Trump’s immigration order

January 31, 2017 GMT

Connecticut’s congressional delegation is trying to take away the spending power of President Donald Trump to carry out his contentious executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.

All seven Democrats have signed on to legislation seeking to block the program from taking effect, with Chris Murphy the lead author of the Senate version of the bill opposing Trump’s signature action. Its co-sponsors include Murphy’s Senate colleague, Richard Blumenthal.

Murphy said Tuesday that the ban is not only illegal, but it gives terrorists a recruiting tool to bolster their false narrative that the U.S. is anti-Muslim. He characterized the restriction as a death sentence for refugees from the countries on the list.

“So our policy now is to bomb Yemen, bomb Iraq, bomb Syria, creating a humanitarian disaster and then locking civilians inside to die,” Murphy said in an interview. “That’s a moral abomination.”

The pushback from Democrats, who are in the minority in both the Senate and House, follows a turbulent weekend of protests at airports across the nation over Trump’s executive order. Murphy has been trying to help reunite a Milford resident from Syria with his wife and two daughters, who were granted refugee status but grounded in the Ukraine over the weekend after Trump’s executive order was signed.

A request for comment was left Tuesday with the Trump administration, and with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

State GOP Chairman J.R. Romano said Democrats are guilty of what they accused the Republicans of during the presidency of Barack Obama — obstruction.

“What they’re interested in is trying to embarrass and disrupt the Trump presidency, and it’s not working,” Romano said. “They lost the election and they cannot accept it and they’re going to do everything necessary to undermine the democratic process.”

In the House, Connecticut’s five representatives co-sponsored the Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) Act of 2017, which would defund Trump’s immigration ban.

“Now is the time to stand up against this madness,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said Monday in a speech on the House floor.

Over the weekend, Himes was asked by Yale physicians to intervene in the case of a ophthalmology resident and green card holder from Syria who was detained while returning from a humanitarian mission in the Bahamas. The doctor was eventually allowed to return to the U.S., but his case highlighted one of the more controversial aspects of the order — it did not distinguish between green card holders and other immigrants from the seven Muslim-majority nations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., blocked Democrats’ attempt to bring the SOLVE Act up for a debate, saying at a news conference Tuesday that Trump is delivering on his campaign promise to secure the border.

“What the president has asked us to focus on, and something that we completely agree on, something we ran on, is we’ve got to secure our border,” Ryan said. “We have security concerns, given this age of terrorism, given the fact that we have drugs coming across our border, we have an opioid problem. There are lots of reasons why our focus first and foremost is on border security.”

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