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Virginia Democrats Blast Immigration Executive Order

GREENSVILLE/EMPORIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

LOCAL BOARD MEETING

The Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services Administrative Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, June 20, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services located at 1748 East Atlantic Street.

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By Jessica Nolte, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia’s top Democratic officials on Saturday condemned President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“On behalf of the people of Virginia, I urge President Trump and leaders in Washington to reverse this policy and restore our nation to its place as a beacon of opportunity for all,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said at a press conference at Dulles International Airport.

McAuliffe spoke before a Saturday evening rally welcoming immigrants and refugees to the U.S. The rally followed the detention of two Iraqi refugees at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The ban will make the country less safe and contradicts the values that make America great, McAuliffe said. Attorney General Mark Herring, a fellow Democrat, agreed.

“For generations, the United States has been a beacon of hope and a safe harbor for those in need,” Herring said. He and McAuliffe vowed to work together to examine the order and take legal action to oppose the policy.

Trump’s ban prevents citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days. These countries will likely not be the only ones banned. The executive order calls for the secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a 30-day review of countries that do not offer “adequate information” about citizens seeking visas.

Trump signed the order Friday at the Pentagon.

“I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” he said. “We don't want them here.”

Trump added, “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam said the order will hurt innocent people.

“This executive order could stop green card holders from these seven countries from returning to the United States if they travel abroad. These Virginians deserve due process, and it is this administration’s priority that they can return home,” Northam said.

Northam, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said Trump’s order is a threat to Virginia and to national security because administering religious tests ignores the contributions and sacrifices of Muslims who have served in the U.S. military. Virginia is home to bases for all four branches of the military.

“There are countless stories of Iraqis and Afghanis who risked their lives to serve alongside our troops as interpreters,” Northam said. “Preventing them from entering the country is an utter disgrace to the commitment to the United States they have shown through their actions abroad.”

Trump’s executive order has also stopped refugees from being admitted to the country over the course of the next four months. Following this ban, Christian refugees fleeing Muslim-majority countries would be given priority over Muslim refugees leaving these countries.

The number of refugees who would potentially be allowed to enter the U.S. under Trump’s administration would be less than half the number admitted under former President Barack Obama.

“President Trump is dimming that light and slamming the door in the face of vulnerable people fleeing unimaginable circumstances,” Herring said.

Northam warned of potentially harmful economic implications in Virginia as a result of the ban. He said it may prevent hundreds of thousands of students, high-tech workers and scientists from re-entering the U.S. after trips abroad.

“In Virginia, we must fight against this type of xenophobia and bigotry. We must continue to be an example to the country of how tolerance and diversity make us stronger,” Northam said. “We must show the world that there are Americans who will stand up for the values that made us a ‘shining city upon a hill.’”

Most Virginia Republican leaders have refrained from issuing public statements regarding Trump’s order. However, state Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, defended the action.

“After years of increasingly liberal Obama immigration policies, President Trump decided to stop these actions and give his new administration time to study the effects of these policies and implement new ones. It’s a four-month pause to allow the administration to put policies in place that will keep Americans safe,” Wagner, a candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, said in a statement.

Wagner said Trump’s order would be “an inconvenience to less than 200 people per day from terrorist states. This is a small price to pay to insure that Americans are kept safe.”

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