Western states react to Trump’s immigration travel ban

At least eight Republican Congressmen have broken with their party line in opposition.

 

Editor's note: On Feb. 3, a Washington state judge  on immigration and travel from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya.

As President Donald Trump begins to fulfill promises made on the campaign trail, he’s taken on immigration restrictions. In signed Jan. 25, Trump focused on “border security and immigration enforcement” by instructing Congress to find resources to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico, and defunding sanctuary cities. Despite his federal hiring freeze, he also requested 5,000 additional border patrol agents. Then, on Jan. 27, he banning any travel from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. The order keeps out immigrants from the countries for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days. The order suspends entry of refugees from Syria entirely.

In the West, the order set off protests from citizens and bipartisan complaints from who saw the temporary ban as overreach. The order caused confusion, as it put even legal residents and green card holders in limbo at international airports when it went into affect. Those coming from any of the seven countries were either sent back, or detained at airports as protesters gathered outside and immigration lawyers sought to free them.

Western Democratic representatives spoke out against the order, as well as at least eight Republican lawmakers. Lawsuits in three Western states have been filed to protect immigrants from the travel ban.

Protesters of the travel ban gathered at the San Francisco International Airport.
Peg Hunter/Flickr user

Arizona Sens.  and , both notable for their tempestuous relationships with Trump, strongly rejected the ban. Nationwide, Arizona came in sixth for the number of refugees it resettled in fiscal year 2016. “Our most important allies in the fight against (Islamic State) are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred,” McCain said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country.”

Another Western voice came from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “I am acutely aware that many of my own ancestors in the not-too-distant past were themselves refugees,” . Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., echoed that sentiment, saying Muslim allies are some of the most important sources in the war on terror, and that “a religious test or ban is against everything our country stands for.”

It’s hard to know how many Muslims are in the Western states, because the U.S. Census does not collect information about religion. But California takes the majority of the West’s immigrants from the seven countries listed in the travel ban, according to data from the .


In 2016, California resettled the most refugees in the country and has loudly opposed the ban, from packed protests at the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports, to calling for an end to the travel ban. San Francisco city officials also filed a lawsuit aimed at Trump’s order to defund sanctuary cities.

Washington state’s attorney general also sued Trump in defense of the approximately 7,280 non-citizen immigrants who live there from the seven affected countries. The lawsuit cites the booming technology industry that relies on H-1B visa holders, which allows foreigners to temporarily work in the U.S, as well as green card holders employed at Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft. On Feb. 1, Oregon Governor Kate Brown recommended that the state’s attorney general also file a lawsuit against the travel ban. In Colorado, who studies at Community College of Denver also filed a lawsuit, and the ban was criticized by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Republican Rep. Mike Coffman.

The ban touches on Western history: In early 1882, the United States implemented its first immigration ban, the Chinese Exclusion Act, which turned away Chinese immigrants from Angel Island in California, the Western counterpart to Ellis Island. Then, in 1942, the Roosevelt administration established Japanese internment camps in California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Arkansas. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., drew that comparison in of the U.S. House on Monday: “If you are silent today, you would have been silent then,” Takano said. “If you are complicit today, you would have been complicit then." 

Anna V. Smith is an editorial fellow at NewTowncarShare News. She tweets

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • Based in the state capitol, Boise State Public Radio is the premier NPR affiliate in Idaho. With 18 transmitters and translators, it reaches 2/3rds of...
  • Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home ... this is the one.
  • Organization Background: The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, founded in 2006. Our mission is to protect the ecosystems of the...
  • If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is accepting applications for an Executive Director. This position will provide leadership to RSA, develop a fund raising plan, and effectively communicate...
  • REGISTER ONLINE BY: Friday, June 15 WHERE: Durango, CO (location TBD) WHEN: Monday, July 16 Youth workshop: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. (18 and under,...
  • The Equity in the Outdoors Coordinator will lead community engagement, program implementation and development, and data collection for the Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement (EVOM). EVOM...
  • The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a personable individual who is passionate about conservation to join our Sandpoint Field Office. The Community Engagement Assistant will...
  • 4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • Actively introduce students to Experiential Education, Outdoor Recreation, and Sustainability while engaging and challenging them to learn and participate in these diverse opportunities. Room, board,...
  • In-depth investigations of polluters, lobbyists, regulators, elected officials and others focused on environmentally damaging projects in the U.S. and internationally. We specialize in mining projects,...
  • in beautiful Montezuma County.
  • Class A & B drivers, pass all DOT requirements and clean driving record
  • - Thriving Indie bookstore in the heart of Durango, Colorado. General bookstore with 34-year history as a community hub for Southwest region of CO. 1800...
  • HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details: