WASHINGTON ― House Democrats plan to introduce a bill Monday to thwart President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and certain foreign nationals by denying funds to enforce it and affirming that no one should be turned away from the country based on religion or nationality.
Now the question is whether Republicans who said they oppose the executive order will actually sign onto legislation to stop it.
Trump’s executive order halts refugee resettlement from all countries for 120 days; stops Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely; and temporarily bars from the country nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The government detained even green card holders from those countries in airports after Trump signed the order, before finally saying on Sunday that they are not included.
More than a dozen Republicans in the House and Senate condemned the order to varying degrees, from criticizing the rollout to saying it was dangerous for national security.
At least seven House Republicans were in that camp: Reps. Charlie Dent and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Justin Amash of Michigan, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Elise Stefanik of New York and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state.
The House Democrats’ bill was written by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House subcommittee that deals with immigration. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats in a letter on Sunday that Lofgren was preparing a bill and that leadership was reviewing actions they could take against Trump’s other immigration executive orders.
Lofgren’s bill, a draft of which was provided to The Huffington Post ahead of its release, would make an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act stating that the government cannot reject people for entry based solely on their religion or nationality.
Trump has said his order is not the “Muslim ban” he once proposed, although it will primarily lead to people of that faith being denied entry into the United States. He also said he would prioritize for entry Christian Syrian refugees ― and put a provision in the executive order allowing himself to do so ― giving further evidence that Muslim exclusion was a goal.
Lofgren’s bill also bars the government from using funding either provided to or collected by the Department of Homeland Security or another agency to implement or enforce the executive order.
Senate Democrats have also proposed legislation to combat the executive order. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that he hoped to get Republicans to sign onto a bill to overturn the order. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called on Sunday for an investigation into the Department of Homeland Security’s implementation of the order.
Some pieces of Trump’s executive order were blocked in the courts, although those gains are not permanent and for the most part affect people who already made it to the United States, while those still abroad remain unable to come here.