New Jerseyians speak out against Trump immigration ban
TRENTON -- People around New Jersey continue to protest President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily suspending immigration from seven Muslim countries.
About a thousand people showed up Sunday for a rally in front of the Elizabeth Detention Center, organized by the immigration advocacy group Make the Road New Jersey and a dozen groups from around the state. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, hours after he addressed protesters at Washington's Dulles International Airport after a judge issued a ban on the executive order, also marched at the Elizabeth rally.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is also a candidate for governor, spoke at the rally.
"The truth is Trump’s executive orders do not make us safer and are nothing more than a sloppy and ignorant attempt to enact a Muslim ban that is fundamentally anti-American. We cannot stop fighting to end this Muslim ban," the Democrat said on his Facebook page."
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who boycotted Trump's inaugural, also came to the rally.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy released a statement calling Trump's order "un-American and disgraceful." The former Ambassador to Germany also called upon Gov. Chris Christie to "direct his attorney general to take all legal means to protect refugees and green card holders currently in New Jersey who may be affected by this administration's misguided policies."
Christie did not comment on the matter on Sunday on his Twitter account.
Rep. Frank Pallone told the Elizabeth rally about a Middletown constituent's mother who was detained in Iran.
"I had some constituent over the weekend who has a daughter in Middletown, New Jersey in my district who had been bringing her parents over. They had an immigration visa, it took them years to get there, they got to the airport in Tehran and were told that they had to go home. Do you know how long it takes to get an immigrant visa to come to the United States? And to say that those decisions are going to be based on whether or not you're Muslim and your religion is totally an outrage and runs contrary to everything we believe as an American," Pallone said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
Rep. Leonard Lance was the only Republican member of the New Jersey congressional delegation to address the topic over the weekend while South Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo issued a statement on Monday morning. The two Congressmen agree that while the borders need protection Trump's executive action was put into effect too quickly.
The Trump Administration has every right to be concerned about the safety and security of the American People," wrote the 7th Congressional District congressman, "the President’s current travel ban executive order appears rushed and poorly implemented. Reports of green card holders and those who assisted us in the War on Terror being denied or delayed entry into the U.S. is deeply concerning and must be remedied immediately," Lance wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.
"This is a temporary pause in the refugee resettlement program so that we may strengthen the screening process to prevent Islamic jihadists from coming to our country to attack us. The hasty execution of such efforts have created wide-spread confusion, frustration and misrepresentation of what America stands for. This was avoidable and I urge the Trump Administration, working with appropriate federal, state and local agencies, to quickly reassess," wrote LoBiondo.
Fellow Republicans Tom MacArthur, Chris Smith and Rodney Frelinghuysen did not post anything about Trump's order over the weekend.
Trump defended the order and said it's to protect U.S. citizens and the border, and insists it's "not a Muslim ban." The president says the U.S. will resume issuing visas to all countries impacted after a review of security policies. Nevertheless, protests against the ban continue across the country.
Rutgers president Robert Barchi and Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber also issued statements about the ban. Barchi’s statement addressed where students can get questions and concerns answered and where to get counseling.
"We share the view of many of our peer institutions who have argued strongly that many aspects of the executive order run counter to the academic and social mission of higher education," Barchi wrote, adding that counseling is available from Rutgers health services.
Eisrguber said in his statement Princeton has benefited from “the presence of individuals of diverse nationalities and faiths” and the school will protect them. Eisgruber reiterated that Princeton will protect personal information about non-citizens as it does for all students.
NJEA president Wendell Steinhauer also issued a statement condemning his executive order.
"The Trump administration has employed rhetoric, and is now taking actions, that undermine American democracy. The President and those around him have created a climate of fear and distrust that is harmful to all of us, but particularly to the children we educate. As educators, advocates and leaders, we pledge to do all that we can to resist any and every action by this administration that could harm our students," Steinhauer wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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