Indian-American lawmakers have slammed US President Donald Trump for signing executive orders to reshape the country’s immigration policies, describing the move as “anti-immigrant” that will “tear apart” families.
Trump has escalated his anti-immigrants stand with a series of executive orders that will “tear families apart,” while weakening the public safety and national security, said Senator Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American to be elected to the upper chamber of the United States Congress.
Indian-American Senator Kamala D. Harris, D-California, a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, introduced her first piece of legislation Feb. 9, the Access to Counsel Act, that would guarantee those detained while attempting to enter the United States, access to legal counsel. It is doubtful this bill would be passed in a Republican-majority Senate. She was joined in the House of Representatives by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, who introduced companion legislation.
Harris said the reports of refugees, Green Card holders, and even U.S. citizens—many of whom women, elderly, or children— held for long periods of time, and denied access to volunteer lawyers, spurred her to introduce her first piece of legislation since she took office early january.
Despite temporary restraining orders against holding Legal Permanent Residents, accounts of protracted holding at ports of entry still came in, even after the reversal in the agencies’ policies, Harris said.
Rep. Jayapal’s companion legislation was co-signed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. John Conyers, D-Michigan, Zoe Lofgren, D-California, Jerrold Nadler, D- New York, Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, Judy Chu, D-Ca., Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York, Eric Swalwell, D-Cal., Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Cal., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-New Mexico.
“Creating a deportation force to target immigrant families who are contributing to our society is not a show of strength. Asking taxpayers to pay for an unrealistic border wall is not a solution. And telling cities to deny public safety, education, and health services to kids and families is irresponsible and cruel,” said Harris.
She said that the US was now “less safe” because of the “anti-immigrant” policies followed by the President. “Immigrants will report fewer crimes, more families will live in fear, and our communities and local economies will suffer,” Harris said.
Indian-American Seattle representative Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has earlier announced not to attend Trump’s presidential inauguration, slammed the President for moving forward with his “divisive agenda” that will do nothing to solve the real immigration issues.
“He has doubled down on his agenda that pits mother against mother, neighbour against neighbour, tearing up the fabric of our communities,” Jayapal said.
“We must take on enacting comprehensive and humane reform of our broken immigration system – to support our economy, our communities and our families – but the President offers zero leadership in this area,” she said. “Instead of building walls, we should address the underlying systemic issues that drive immigration and fix our own outdated immigration system. Instead of banning refugees and people based on their religion, we should welcome them with open arms,” she said.
Jayapal said that as a world superpower it is US’s moral responsibility to provide a sanctuary to all who need it most. The lawmakers were also joined by Senator Chuck Schumer and Democratic Whip Congressman Steny H Hoyer in opposing Trump’s immigration policies.
“President Trump’s plans are based on alternative facts and do nothing to keep us safe or fix our immigration system in a humane, pragmatic and effective way,” Schumer said.