Virginia Democrats speak out on Trump executive order on Muslim refugees, travel

Virginia Democrat leaders spoke out on Saturday on President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees and travelers from certain Muslim countries from entering the U.S.


tim kaineSen. Tim Kaine: “I am appalled by the cruelty the Trump Administration has demonstrated over the past 24 hours. By indefinitely suspending the Syrian refugee program and imposing a religious test at our borders, he has defied everything our nation stands for. He’s also weakened our national security by empowering ISIL’s narrative that the West is at war with Islam and encouraging Muslim countries to further cooperate with adversaries like Russia and Iran. For decades, America has acted as the Good Samaritan and extended a welcoming hand to those who yearn to be free. We should continue to thoroughly vet all refugees who enter the United States, but we cannot abandon our core principles. If we turn our backs on widows and orphans fleeing the very evil we despise, we do not defeat our enemies; we surrender to them.

“It is also incredulous that at the same time the President is asking the Pentagon for new options to defeat ISIL, he is banning Iraqi refugees from entering the country.  The government of Iraq is our ally in the fight against ISIL. Its troops fight alongside ours. Its interpreters risk their own lives and the lives of their families to protect U.S. personnel. It undermines our national security and endangers our soldiers to have our Iraqi partners and other Muslim countries distrust our commitment and motives. President Trump said he was ‘totally against’ the U.S. invasion in 2003, which led to Iraq’s destabilization and the rise of ISIL. I guess he is not ‘totally against’ leaving its people to suffer the consequences.”


terry mcauliffeGov. Terry McAuliffe: “I am outraged and disappointed by the actions President Trump has taken to ban travelers from certain Muslim nations and to close our country to families seeking refuge from persecution. This executive order is antithetical to the values that make America great, and it will make our country less safe.

“On behalf of the people of Virginia, I urge President Trump and leaders in Washington to reverse this policy and restore our nation to its place as a beacon of opportunity for all. In the meantime, my administration will work with Attorney General Mark Herring to identify any and all legal steps we can take to oppose this dangerous and divisive policy.”


ralph northamLt. Gov. Ralph Northam: “Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order to ban all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days. In addition, the order bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely.

“First, let me say this is outrageous and contrary to the ideals and principles on which our country and our Commonwealth were founded. Not only are we a nation of immigrants, we are a nation founded by religious refugees. This action ignores the very essence of who we are.

“America has always been made stronger because it has been a beacon for freedom. This is symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, and its famous inscription, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

“This executive order could stop green card holders from these seven countries from returning to the United States if they travel abroad. These Virginians deserve due process and it is this administration’s priority that they can return home.

“President Trump’s executive order contradicts everything our country stands for. He says this is part of his plan to “Make America Great Again,” but if we abandon our highest ideals, how can we truly be great?

“Virginia is a tolerant, diverse place, not simply because these traits are the hallmark of a democracy, but also because we are all enriched by a broad variety of perspectives and experiences.

“Second, this order is a threat to our national security. Virginia is home to our national intelligence infrastructure and all four branches of our military. Many working in our Commonwealth to defend our country are Muslim. As an army veteran, I served with all faiths and creeds, including Muslims.

“To single out these countries, to administer religious tests of those entering our country, is to ignore the enormous contributions and sacrifices made by Muslims to keep our citizens and soldiers safe.

“Finally, there are countless stories of Iraqis and Afghanis who risked their lives to serve alongside our troops as interpreters. Often, they have waited years – too long – to be granted refugee status and allowed to enter our country. Preventing them from entering the country is an utter disgrace to the commitment to the United States they have shown through their actions abroad. President Trump either does not understand their contributions or does not care. Either way, this is unacceptable from our Commander in Chief.

“This action may very well hurt our economy in Virginia, and the country as a whole. Hundreds of thousands of students, high tech workers, and scientists may be prevented from returning to the United States from trips abroad. It has been reported that Google has already issued an emergency order for 100 high-level executives to return to the United States immediately, for fear they will not be allowed to re-enter.

“So, again, I ask the President, how does abandoning our values, threatening our national security, and harming our economy help Americans?

“In Virginia, we must fight against this type of xenophobia and bigotry. We must continue to be an example to the country of how tolerance and diversity make us stronger. And we must show the world that there are Americans who will stand up for the values that made us a “shining city upon a hill.”


mark herringAttorney General Mark Herring: “This order is in direct conflict with the most foundational principles of our country and our Commonwealth. For generations, the United States has been a beacon of hope and a safe harbor for those in need. President Trump is dimming that light and slamming the door in the face of vulnerable people fleeing unimaginable circumstances. He is also sending a terrible signal to minority communities that they too could be the target of his ire and telling Muslims in Virginia and around the country that they are inferior because of their faith.  That is simply shameful.

“Along with Gov. McAuliffe, my team and I are closely examining this order, something President Trump and his administration apparently failed to do before issuing it, and exploring any options we may have to oppose this un-American, discriminatory, and misguided action.”


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