Libby: Trump’s Muslim, refugee ban is moral failure unparalleled in modern era
AUGUSTA — Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, joined leaders of his city’s community of New Mainers in denouncing President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from America and banning all travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries.
The ban denies safe haven to refugees fleeing violence, war, genocide and terrorism.
“This order is the most egregious moral failure by the American government in the modern era.” said Libby, the assistant Senate Democratic leader. “It runs afoul of the promise of America inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, that our shores will always be welcome to those seeking freedom and a better, safer life.”
“Lewiston has exemplified that promise, and in return has been made better by immigrants and refugees,” Libby said. “Our city has benefitted from the contributions of several waves of migrants, from the Franco families who built the industrial base that fueled generations of prosperity to the African and Middle Eastern refugees who brought new life and vibrancy when that industrial base withered.”
The ban was instituted over the weekend, and suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for four months. It indefinitely banned Syrian refugees fleeing the violence of civil war in that country, and barred all citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the United States for three months. President Trump has indicated that he will favor Christians and other religions over Muslims in the immigration vetting process.
It caused immediate chaos around the world as refugees who boarded planes headed for the United States before Trump signed the order. Those refugees were turned back or detained at airports after the order was signed. Included among those turned away are the families of Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives assisting American servicemen and women overseas.
“I may be a citizen now by document but I’ll always be refugee,” said Abdi Abdalla, office director at a local immigrants organization. “None of these people understand what it means to have been separated from your loved ones. I am among those who fled to America for the simple chance to live and not have my life taken by the hands of those who did not value life. Countless mothers, daughters, sons, wives and husbands spend their hard earned money for the chance of seeing their loved ones and for them to witness the day President Trump delivered his promises is undeniably heart breaking.”
“I came to this country as a refugee from Kenya,” said Dr. Abdifatah Ahmed, a pharmacist and community leader in Lewiston. “I was a teenager when my family and I came to this country. My siblings and I had the opportunity to go to school and became integrated as Americans. We all graduated from Universities from Boston and work professionally. We are taxpayers and contributed our country. But some of our families were not so fortunate. They have waited in the refugee camps in Kenya for more than 23 years and died in the refugee camps waiting for the process of coming to America. Parents passed away and their children are still in the refugee camps in Kenya and some of the children were born in the refugee camps. They can not go back to Somalia because of security reasons. Now, President Trump’s order bans for the families who have waited for years to unite their children and parents. This is un-American, inhumane and unconstitutional.”
Trump’s ban is written so broadly as to apply even to Green Card holders — permanent, legal residents of the United States. Green Card holders currently abroad may be unable to return to their homes in the United States, and those currently in the country may be restricted from leaving for fear they will not be able to return.
A federal Judge in New York granted temporary reprieve to refugees detained at airports, but stopped short of repealing the Executive Order entirely and made no ruling to the legality of the order, but did say that it likely violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.