The White House travel ban is causing a ripple effect across the country including here in central Illinois.
Local universities are asking students and faculty who may be impacted to avoid traveling outside the United States and religious leaders are voicing concerns.
“I’m very concerned about this executive order because it singles out a particular religious group, and the Holocaust started with words,” Susan Katz said. She is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Peoria.
She said President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration is personal.
“We saw people being detained in airports that sound horribly familiar to us, and we want to lift our voices,” Katz said.
A White House official calls the detention of a more than 100 travelers a minimal disruption. The executive order temporarily bans travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for at least 90 days and suspends all refugee admission for at least 120 days causing thousands from protesting this weekend.
“We cannot stand for that kind of action. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about religious freedom; we’re not about discriminating against a certain religious group,” Katz said.
“My dad was an immigrant from Poland. My other’s parents were immigrants from Ireland. This has always been a nation that has welcomed people,” Bishop Daniel Jenky added.
He said the administration should take a closer look at the executive order. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that the country should admit people who are a danger to this nation or who bring crime or more crime than we already have, but that’s not the typical person who is trying to come to America.”
Katz agrees and says she will not be quiet. “Peacefully demonstrate and write letters and peacefully let our government know that this isn’t what we stand for.”
Our local members of congress are sounding off about the travel ban.
“It was hastily implemented. I’m glad that the administration clarified that it doesn’t impact green card holders, but we’re talking about less than 200 people that were inconvenienced over the weekend,” Republican Rep. Rodney Davis said. “This is a simple step that is nowhere near what President Trump talked about wanting to do during the election and still, still is over blown with untruths, misstatements and miss-facts.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) is asking President Trump to exempt Iraqis who served alongside the U.S. military, and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) wants the president to rescind the entire executive order.
Bustos wrote, “Once again, President Donald Trump’s impulsive behavior has put lives at risk – this time it’s innocent victims fleeing ISIS terrorists and Iraqis who stood with our military who will pay the price for President Trump’s actions. Donald Trump’s hastily drafted executive order diminishes America’s superpower role as a global example for democracy while undermining our national security by breaking the trust between American troops in the field and the foreign fighters they count on every single day. There is no question that we must have secure borders and comprehensive vetting procedures for new immigrants, but Donald Trump’s action slams the door on women and children fleeing from the horror of ISIS terrorists and Russian bombing raids.”
Also in a statement to the WMBD newsroom, Rep. Darin LaHood (R) wrote, “The United States will continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for those looking to immigrate to a better way of life, but first and foremost, national security for our American citizens and our homeland must be priority number one.
“We need to have precise understanding of who and why people are entering our country. We are a compassionate immigrant nation for those looking to work hard, play by the rules and embrace American ideals; however, we know that there are terrorist groups and entities that want to harm America, who are looking to use our immigration system against us and hurt innocent people. Strengthening our immigration vetting process as it relates Syria and a small handful of other countries with a history of terrorist activity should be viewed as protecting our homeland and its citizens.
“I look forward to working together towards this goal and I encourage the Administration to quickly clarify any questions or confusion as it relates to those individuals who are lawful permanent residents.”