Rep. Cohen to co-sponsor Statue of Liberty Values Act in opposition to executive order on immigration

WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve Cohen is joining other Congress members in opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans people from certain countries from entering the United States.

Under the executive order, citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — may not enter the U.S. for 90 days. The order also bans refugees from all countries from coming to the U.S. for 120 days and suspends the acceptance of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Many have lashed out against the ban, including Cohen.

He announced Monday he will co-sponsor the Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) Act with other members of the House Judiciary Committee and House of Representatives. The act would prevent federal funds from being used to implement Trump’s order.

Cohen called the order unconstitutional, saying, “We do not have religious tests in this country.”

He said it will make America less safe because it will give ISIS propaganda to use against us. He also questioned why the specific seven countries were chosen when others not on the list have actually been linked to terror attacks in the U.S.

He noted the screening process already in place to vet refugees and suggested the government focus on preventing people who are already in the U.S. and on the no-fly list from buying weapons.

In urging Republicans to join Democrats in supporting the SOLVE Act, he said, “This will be the first major test under the Trump Administration for Republicans to honor their oath of office to protect and defend the constitution and put country over party.”

His full statement:

“I will be joining my colleagues in cosponsoring legislation to overturn President Trump’s unconstitutional executive order. We do not have religious tests in this country.  That is a clear violation of the first amendment. When we start detaining foreign nationals who have risked their lives to assist our military, we are making our troops abroad and our nation less safe.  This hasty and unsound executive order will provide ISIS with additional propaganda to use against the United States.  The order also singles out a small number of countries, but ignores others like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt from which individuals have been linked to actual terror attacks inside the U.S.

“Everyone agrees that we should screen refugees to ensure that no one intent on doing harm is allowed into our country.  That’s why it currently takes up to two years for applicants to be fully screened, and I support this screening process.  But if the Administration is serious about protecting against terrorist attacks, I would encourage it to start by supporting of legislation to prohibit individuals who are already in the United States and already considered too dangerous to allow onto an airplane from buying guns and explosives. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the SOLVE Act and make America safe and constitutional again. While I feel extremely confident that Democrats will support the bill, we need Republicans to support it for it to pass. This will be the first major test under the Trump Administration for Republicans to honor their oath of office to protect and defend the constitution and put country over party.”