A number of US Democratic senators have joined a growing number of lawmakers who are denouncing President Donald Trump’s executive order to bar entry of people from certain Islamic countries.
The president’s order, signed on Friday—after a week in office— bars all persons from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until the president determines they have been sufficiently changed.
Shortly after Trump signed the order, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that “tears are running down the checks of the Statue of Liberty” and called the order “backward and nasty.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren and freshman Senator Kamala Harris described the executive order as a ban on Muslims. Warren called the action “a betrayal of American values,” saying, “A Muslim ban by any other name is still a Muslim ban."
Senator Chris Murphy took to Twitter on Friday and shared a widely spread photo of three-year-old Syrian refugee boy Alan Kurdi, who drowned as his family attempted to take refuge in Europe.
He slammed those senators who remained silent on Trump's order, saying, “To my colleagues: don’t ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you chose to be silent today.”
Earlier in the day, Murphy denounced the executive order in a Huffington Post op-ed, saying Trump has now handed the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group “a path to rebirth.”
"They [ISIL] can and will use his announcement today as confirmation that America is at war with Muslims, especially those Muslims living in desperate circumstances," he wrote.
Senator Dianne Feinstein also invoked the Syrian boy's image and wrote in a statement, “There is no legitimate national security reason to ban refugees—the vast majority of whom are women and children who have experienced absolute horror.”
Senator Cory Booker called Trump’s order “fundamentally un-American,” and his colleague, Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the order is “grossly inhumane.”
Senator Brian Schatz Tweeted, “Shame. Shame. Shame. Today is a dark day. I feel sick.”
Top Republican senators, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, however, backed Trump’s order, writing in a statement that the president is “right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which said the purpose of banning refugees was to “ban people of the Islamic faith,” started to file a federal lawsuit against Trump as soon as he signed the order, said Lena Masri, the council’s national litigation director in an interview with The Independent.
CAIR’s lawsuit is aimed to "challenge the constitutionality of the order which very clearly is designed to target Muslims,” Masri added.
Trump has been under fire by Muslim and human rights groups as well as his Democratic rivals and many of his Republican proponents since he started calling for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" during his presidential campaign.