The following is a message I sent to US Senator Pat Toomey this afternoon after trying to call his district office in Philadelphia and getting a busy signal… again.
I am extremely disappointed with your statement on Trump’s immigration order.
Donald Trump’s decision to immediately prohibit travelers from 7 countries from entering the United States, including people with green cards and valid visas (obtained after months, or in some cases years of vetting) is nothing short of disgusting.
The move does nothing to protect Americans. Extreme vetting is already taking place for visitors from many countries affected by terrorism… and most terrorism experts agree that the greater threat comes from people who are already US citizens, not from travelers from the affected countries. In fact, no American has been killed in a terrorist attack perpetrated by a resident of one of the affected countries in the last 15 years.
But people from other countries which are not covered by the ban have… including the September 11th attacks. The selection of countries in the list seems almost arbitrary, and despite Donald Trump’s contention that the list was drawn from one used by his predecessor, Barack Obama (and many observers) have made it clear that the purposes of those lists and actions were quite different.
Meanwhile, researchers and scientists being turned away and people’s lives are being turned upside down. Students have been unable to return to school. And refugees fleeing life-threatening situations have been barred entry… sometimes after waiting years for approval to the enter the United States, only be told after they’ve sold all of their belongings and been prepared to board a plane that they cannot come.
Donald Trump may say that his order is not a religion ban, but it explicitly gives preference to cases where “the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality,” which effectively makes this a Muslim ban, even if the administration is being careful to not use those words.
And that’s exactly what Trump called for during the election, and it’s what you came out against in 2015:
Trump is wrong. We should not have a religious test for admission to U.S. We should have a security test, and it should be bullet proof.
— Pat Toomey (@PatToomey) December 8, 2015
So I was extraordinarily disappointed to learn that you are supportive of this administration’s decision to institute a travel ban that seems to have a religious test, which was implemented with virtually no warning and without the proper input from the affected agencies, and which sends a message to the world that America is not a welcoming place and Americans are not a people who care about the plight of refugees.
This will make America less safe, not more. It will embolden those who wish to do us harm and it will make foreign governments and foreign citizens less likely to cooperate.
America First could quickly become America last.
This is not a partisan issue. Many Republicans have spoken out against the president’s order. Many religious institutions have as well, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith institutions. And even the Koch brothers have reportedly been unhappy.
Many people are on the right side of history in this situation. Donald Trump is not. And I’m disappointed that one of my US Senators is also on the wrong side.