WASHINGTON – Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said President Trump should focus on creating jobs instead of not admitting refugees because a “great economy” is the “best way” to prevent Islamic radicalization.
Frankel joined a group of House Democrats for a hearing that featured opponents of Trump’s executive order that temporarily pauses refugee programs and travel from certain Middle Eastern countries to the United States.
The executive order, which is under a temporary restraining order while it is being challenged in court, covers Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which are “countries of concern” that came under some visa-waiver restrictions under the Obama administration. The refugee pause lasts for 120 days while the travel restrictions last 90 days.
“I think it’s pretty clear to everybody in the room that the new executive order is inhumane, it denigrates our values, and it is dangerous to our security,” Frankel said on Thursday. “I think it’s dangerous in another way also. I liken it to a misguided, dangerous hoax because for many Americans they listen to this ban and they say it sounds like a good idea and they don’t understand the consequences of it. And I think we should not ignore that – that a lot of people are listening to this and saying, yeah, it sounds like a good idea.”
Frankel said Democrats need to shift the conversation surrounding the executive order to more “constructive” ways of keeping the country safe.
“What I want to say to the new president is, you know, why don’t you just get back on the track of jobs because probably the best way to stop this radicalization from happening, which is what is the real danger to Americans here in our country, is to have a great economy where people do not feel desperate, where they have hope, where they are not in a position to be radicalized,” she said.
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said America’s freedoms are in danger due to the executive order.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said House Democrats held the hearing as a way to “protect the Constitution and the American people.”
“What has made America great is our freedoms and they are in grave danger,” he said.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said the executive order’s “damage to the rule of law is immense.”
“If we are going to get through this challenging time as a free country, adherence to the rule of law must be our guide,” she said. “This order has made us less safe.”
During the Obama administration, Lofgren was an outspoken supporter of former President Obama’s executive actions that created Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The Supreme Court’s 4-4 ruling blocked both orders from being implemented.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said, “We should not let any individual deny the American dream to anyone who comes to this great nation.”
DeLauro asked Andre Segura, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, if Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional.
“It violates the First Amendment, it fails to treat all religions the same, it establishes a preference for certain religions over others, it discriminates on the basis of national origin and Muslim faith – in this case, violating the equal protection clause,” he said.