SAN FRANCISCO ― California’s state Senate passed a resolution Monday condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order forbidding Syrian refugees and visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, arguing the ban “desecrates our American values and panders to fears and nativist instincts.”
The resolution, authored by state Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León (D) and co-sponsored by the rest of the Senate’s Democratic caucus, also calls on the Department of Homeland Security to comply with federal court orders and to provide legal counsel to anyone detained.
“The Senate condemns this executive order as a discriminatory overreach that illegally targets immigrants based on their national origin and religion, and urges the President of the United States to immediately rescind the executive order,” reads the resolution.
The four-page resolution details the Senate’s reasons for issuing the condemnation, including the plight of refugees who are “fleeing the savagery, death, and destruction of the Syrian civil war,” the hastiness with which the order was issued, the intense vetting refugees already have to go through to be granted asylum in the U.S., the likelihood that the ban will be used as a recruitment tool for terrorist groups and federal court decisions blocking parts of the order.
It also compares the order to the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II and the U.S. government’s refusal of asylum to thousands of German Jews in the lead-up to the Holocaust.
“President Trump’s signing of this executive order on Holocaust Remembrance Day is an insult to the six million Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis and displays an immoral callousness toward the welfare of the children, women, and men fleeing a brutal civil war,” it reads.
The resolution passed 26 to 11.
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) tweeted Monday that his staff is working on a similar resolution.
And in Texas, state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D) planned to file a resolution condemning Trump’s order as an “open act of discrimination against Muslims.”
De León and other key California officials have taken a strong stance against Trump and many of his policies, vowing to uphold the state’s progressive values in the face of the new administration. After Trump signed an executive order last week targeting so-called “sanctuary cities,” de León, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and others said they would not comply with Trump’s plan to ramp up deportations.
“Trump is in for one hell of a fight,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener (D). “Today is a shameful day for our country, but it only strengthens my resolve to stand up against the alarming bigotry and hatred emanating from the White House.”
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has also rebuked Trump’s policies, warning the new president that California “is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”
Trump’s refugee and Muslim ban drew widespread condemnation across the state. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined protesters outside the White House on Sunday, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) planned to introduce two bills in response to the ban.
“Make no mistake ― this is a Muslim ban,” Harris said in a statement Friday. “Broad brush discrimination against refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, most of whom are women and children, runs counter to our national security interests, and will likely be used as a terrorist recruitment tool.”
Thousands of Californians, meanwhile, rallied at San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport over the weekend in protest of Trump’s ban. And state Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) joined 16 other attorneys general from across the country in condemning the order and pledging to “work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution.”