March 7, 2017

Dems in delegation give thumbs down to new Trump travel ban

Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump at CPAC 2011. Flickr /cc

Most of New Mexico’s congressional delegation still oppose President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.

Trump signed the revised executive order Monday, but it is not intended to go into effect until March 16. The previous ban, which went into effect when Trump signed it on Jan. 27, caused travel chaos for those from the seven impacted countries, and a federal court halted it within days. Despite a bold proclamation on Twitter by Trump, the administration did not appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new ban applies to those from six countries, all Muslim-majority, for 90-days. Iraq, which was on the previous list, is no longer on the list. The new ban also exempted those with current visas and permanent residents.

Related: Trump’s travel ban is wreaking havoc on families, especially those with valid visas

Still, the Democrats that make up nearly all of New Mexico’s delegation were not impressed by the revisions.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called it a “trial and error approach to national security.”

“Our refugee and immigration policy should be designed to exclude those who pose a security threat, not those who look or pray differently than the President,” Heinrich said.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said the new order “remains a poorly conceived and offensive executive order that will diminish our standing abroad and do nothing to keep the American people safe.”

“Instead of making us safer, the order only fuels terrorist propaganda about the United States and the West,” Udall said. “I believe the courts will once again see this shameful ban for what it is, and I will fight to see that it is discarded and that we move on from this disturbing chapter of the Trump presidency.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in the delegation, said the new executive order “ensures legal citizens and visa holders are still allowed in, while giving our Department of Homeland Security time to conduct a proper threat assessment to see where we have gaps and vulnerabilities in our system.”

“I’m confident after this revised order that the Trump Administration is working to uphold our nations integrity while keeping our nation secure,” Pearce said. “I look forward to working with DHS and the Administration to protect the citizens in New Mexico.”

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the revised order “continues to jeopardize our national security” and said it provides propaganda for terrorists, including ISIS.

“The Trump Administration cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason for reintroducing his ban but the intelligence arm of the Department of Homeland Security found insufficient evidence that citizens of the six Muslim-majority countries included in this travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States,” Lujan Grisham said. “The President should identify his specific concerns about the existing vetting process and work with Congress to identify improvements based on proven terrorist threats.”

Related: Balderas, 14 other AGs back suit against travel ban

Rep. Ben Ray Luján cited an internal Department of Homeland Security memo that said such a ban would be ineffective in protecting Americans against terrorism.

“Last month, an internal Department of Homeland Security memo concluded that citizenship from the targeted countries was an ‘unlikely indicator’ for terror threats within the United States, contradicting President Trump’s claims that his Muslim ban will protect Americans from acts of terrorism.”

Attorney General Hector Balderas signed onto legal challenges against the previous order, and noted Trump removed “many of the provisions we contested in litigation.”

“My administration is currently reviewing the new executive order and will take any action necessary to protect New Mexicans, our economy, and our research and higher education institutions,” Balderas said.