MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With his signature, President Donald Trump rewrote many of the rules of American immigration.
The executive order blocked citizens of seven countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, from entering the U.S. for the next four months.
Congressman Rick Crawford from eastern Arkansas released a statement saying in part, “Trump’s executive order on refugees from seven unstable nations is a temporary security measure designed to keep our nation safer.”
And Tennessee Congressman David Kustoff said he would “encourage a long-term plan that is consistent with the values and compassion on which our great nation was founded.”
But immigration attorney Elissa Taub said the order is flatly unconstitutional.
“To the extent you’re discriminating against people based on where they’re from or their religion, our Constitution protects people against that sort of treatment by the government,” Taub said.
Congressman Steve Cohen agreed and said the order even threatened national security, rather than enhance it.
“It gives ISIL exactly what they want. They can tell every person in those seven countries that America discriminates against Muslims. ‘This is a war against Muslims so join the jihad,’” Cohen said via phone from Washington.
Cohen announced Monday he was co-sponsoring the Statue of Liberty Values Act: legislation to keep federal funding from being used in the order’s implementation.
“There have been terrorists from Saudi Arabia. There have been terrorists from Egypt, terrorists from Pakistan and [United Arab Emirates]. But none of those countries were on the list. It was amateurish. It was heartless. And it was unconstitutional," Cohen said.
He acknowledged Democrats needed some Republican lawmakers to vote across the aisle to pass the bill. He urged Republicans to uphold their oath to the Constitution in their votes. But he was doubtful they would vote for it.