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Virginia House Dems Call on GOP to Oppose Trump’s Muslim Ban

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From the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.

House Dems Call on GOP to Oppose Trump’s Muslim Ban

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House Democratic Caucus today called on the House Republican Caucus to join them in signing a letter asking President Trump to rescind his recent executive order that amounts to a de facto Muslim ban.

“By effectively preventing Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States, this order violates Virginia values and hurts Virginia families,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano. “We count Muslims among our friends, neighbors, colleagues and community members. This is not a matter of political ideology; it’s a matter of right and wrong. We call upon our Republican colleagues in the House to stand up for Virginians and stand up to the president today.”

“Aside from its unconstitutionality, a ban on Muslims will alienate many of our partners in the war against terrorism,” said Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “This ban will make Virginia less safe, not more. A growing number of Republicans, including Virginia’s own Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, have spoken out against this order. We respectfully ask our colleagues across the aisle to join us in speaking out against this ban.”

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani admitted Saturday that Trump had asked him how to legally implement a “Muslim ban.”

In a floor speech yesterday, Del. Mark Levine received a standing ovation for his speech denouncing the executive order. Del. Sam Rasoul also spoke against the ban, noting that he was “proud to sit here protecting Jefferson’s legacy, in Jefferson’s house.”

The full text of Leader Toscano’s letter is copied below:

Dear President Trump:

We, the undersigned members of the Virginia House of Delegates, are very concerned by what appears to be a hastily drawn and problematic “Executive Order” effectively creating a Muslim ban on travel to the U.S. from certain countries. We believe the letter and intent of the “Order” violate basic Virginia values as it hurts Virginian families. Putting aside the humanitarian problems of the Order, we believe it has negative implications for Virginia businesses and Virginia colleges and universities. We ask for it to be rescinded. 

There is already an extensive multi-year vetting process in place for refugees, and we must allow our hardworking national security personnel to do their jobs. A ban that focuses on nations which are majority Muslim makes Virginia less safe, especially given our proximity to D.C., and will be used as a terrorist recruitment tool.  By banning citizens from these countries, we will create the possibility that our Muslim friends, whom we need in this fight against terrorism, will abandon us. It also strikes us as a “religious test” for entry, something that has been totally at odds with American values since our founding.

We are hearing heart-wrenching stories in the news of Virginia families whose members have been separated or stranded by this action.  We hear from many who are worried about their ability to travel, not to mention concerns about future actions.  We count Muslims among our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and community members.  To exclude people based on their religion is antithetical to American values and inconsistent with traditions of our founders as articulated in the Bill of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

Last year, the Virginia House of Delegates passed HR75, a bipartisan measure that celebrates freedom from religious persecution and Virginia’s critical role in its protection. It states that “our nation remains open to individuals of all faiths who embrace our laws, and who seek a better life.”

This should not be an issue of party or political ideology. Both Democrats and Republicans from across the country have spoken out against this Muslim ban, including our two U.S. Senators, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, and our former colleague, U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock.

We, the undersigned, implore you to rescind this Order and rethink the best way to safeguard our country while preserving Virginian values and protecting Virginia families and businesses.

Respectfully,

[Signatories]