Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s floor speech on Trump’s refugee & Muslim ban – Part 1
Part 1 of 2. Partial transcript of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) floor speech introducing a bill to rescind President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and valid visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States on Jan. 30, 2017:
…I have to come to the floor. We have just filed a resolution – a bill, actually – with 26 co-sponsors that would repeal the immigration ban placed by President Trump.
Mr. President, President Trump’s Muslim ban is unnecessary. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s un-American. And it should be repealed immediately.
The executive order prohibits individuals from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country. It even bars relatives of Americans from visiting.
The order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program, and most egregiously, Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely unless they’re Christian.
These provisions aren’t what America is all about, Mr. President.
First, the order is unnecessary.
Individuals from the seven targeted countries and 150 other nations are already thoroughly screened. Visitors fill out visa applications. They submit photographs that run through biometric databases. Their personal information is reviewed, including names, addresses, and dates of birth. They’re interviewed at a United States consulate. The process could take months to complete and eliminates the need for the travel ban.
In addition, the move to ban refugees has no legitimate national security reason because these refugees undergo an even more thorough screening process that could take up to two years to complete.
The vast majority of refugees are women and children who have experienced the absolute worst of humanity.
Let us not forget the heart wrenching image of the small body of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a beach dead. I will never forget this small boy in his short pants, his shoes, and his socks lying on that beach.
To turn away women and children and men in their time of dire need is not what this nation is all about.
Let me make this point. The poor execution of this executive order has resulted in chaos and confusion.
It is unclear whether the Justice Department or Homeland Security had any input. There seems to have been a disagreement about whether it would apply to green card holders. There was confusion about whether it applies to individuals already in transit or approved for travel.
And even airport directors, and I have spoken directly with the director of Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, there was confusion about how it applies and even airport directors were left in the dark about how many people were detained and who they were.
Sarah Yarjani was one Californian caught up in this mess. She’s an Iranian national studying at the California Institute for Human Science in San Diego under a valid student visa. After being detained at LAX airport for 23 hours, she was sent back to Europe—a clear violation of the nationwide stay against the order.
What I’m saying is the court stay was actually violated. This is just one of more than 100 stories from the weekend.
I believe this order is also unconstitutional.
The First Amendment prohibits government from establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The order violates the First Amendment by targeting Muslims and favoring Christians.
The order may also violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which forbids the government from burdening a person’s exercise of religion.