Our representatives on Capitol Hill aren’t taking President Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” lying down.
On Jan. 31, members of Congress and Indian American leaders held a news conference condemning the ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries — calling it unethical, unjust, unconstitutional, and un-American. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and two people who served as diplomats in the Obama administration, Nisha Biswal and Manpreet Anand, stood together in opposing these discriminatory executive orders.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) make up 28 percent of the American Muslim population. And according to the Executive Director of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), there are 100,000 to 150,000 Muslims in the state. In addition, since 2003, Washington state has received over 32,000 refugees, mostly from Middle Eastern or Muslim-majority countries. Washington was the 8th largest refugee-receiving state in 2015, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
On Jan. 30, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) co-sponsored two bills by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to block Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants. However, on the Senate floor, Senate Republicans objected to voting on the bill, which would withhold any funding to enforce the executive order and makes clear the order is illegal based on the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which banned discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.
“What unfolded at Sea-Tac International Airport and in airports around the U.S. this weekend is nothing short of appalling,” said Murray. “I met with the family of somebody who was turned away from our country this weekend, and I saw first-hand the grief and confusion this executive order has caused. We cannot stand for this.”
It’s interesting to note that Jan. 30 was also the celebration of the birthday of Fred Korematsu — who stood up to the U.S. government, and challenged the constitutionality of the Japanese incarceration.
It should be a reminder to ourselves of why we should be careful not to repeat it.
More than 100 AAPI organizations have come together to resist the new administration. “We stand at a critical juncture in world history,” said the joint statement.
“AAPIs have faced indentured servitude, exclusionary immigration laws, bars to citizenship and land ownership, mass deportation, mass incarceration, war, sexual and gender-based violence, forced displacement, vigilante violence, surveillance, and racial and religious profiling.”
“Today our movements include Southeast Asian refugees organizing to end criminalization and deportation; Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, and South Asians fighting surveillance … Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders … ”
To have your organization sign on, fill out the form at bit.ly/AAPIStatementOfPrinciples. ■