FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on President Donald Trump Monday to abandon any approaches to national security that specifically target Muslims, and instead come up with solutions that do not rely on a “religious test.”
After Trump’s travel ban was blocked last week by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the president and his administration have indicated that a new version of the ban may be issued this week, according to multiple media reports. Blumenthal joined with advocates for immigrants and refugees Monday to speak out against any measures that may illegally or ineffectively target Muslims.
“The courts have spoken, the orders are illegal and unwise and unwarranted and I urge the president to rip up these executive orders and abandon the religious-based ban that they incorporate,” Blumenthal said.
He said Trump should “adopt a more deliberate, thoughtful approach based on real facts and expert opinion about national security. In essence, he can push the reset button rather than just repackaging what has been done already.”
Though the Trump administration has not announced its next steps regarding the ban, Trump has said that a new order could be issued, according to the BBC , though he declined to offer details on what would be changed.
Blumenthal said that families such as the Kassar family of Milford have seen the effects that Trump’s executive orders could have on people . Fadi Kassar’s wife and two daughters were refugees from Syria who were initially not allowed to board a flight to the United States after the travel ban was issued. They were eventually reunited after U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s office worked with the U.S. State Department and U.S. Customs and Borders.
Blumenthal said that if the president assesses that there’s a need for better screening, he should focus on areas where there’s little vetting already, such as the Visa Waiver Program, as well as comprehensive immigration reform, the use of biometrics and overstays on visas.
“The question of what improvements can be made in the present process is a serious and important one that should prompt solutions based on consulting with communities, countries and Congress, as well as national security experts who can provide real facts and expert opinion.”
He said that focusing on one religion alienates allies abroad and communities at home.
“Making one entire religion the enemy makes us less safe. Ostracizing members of one religion denies them basic rights and diminishes their cooperation and support in fighting the real enemy: violent extremists at home and abroad,” he said.