NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the highest-ranking Latino in the U.S. Congress, issued the following statement in reaction to a Presidential Proclamation signed today by President Trump banning immigrants seeking refuge from applying for asylum if they entered the country between ports of entry.
“The Trump administration’s Asylum ban is yet another shameful attempt to prevent entire groups of people from legally seeking refuge in the United States. The President’s xenophobic effort to exploit the suffering of desperate mothers and children legally seeking asylum is clearly intended for crude political distraction from his own failures.
“We are a nation of laws. Asking for asylum is legal. While not everyone who seeks asylum will be judged to be refugees, our laws have always guaranteed a fair hearing and due process to anyone regardless of where they enter our country. I refuse to stand by as this administration continues to systematically undermine asylum and refugee protection. As if illegally turning away refugees at official border points during the zero tolerance policy and forcing desperate families to then cross in between ports of entry was not heartless enough, President Trump is now doubling down on creating a bottleneck at ports of entry which will effectively shut the door on vulnerable individuals seeking asylum.
"As I’ve said for years, we need a responsible federal strategy to process and better address the root causes forcing these migrants to flee. It is reprehensible and irresponsible for the President of the United States to lie to the American public with a false story about an impending invasion of dangerous foreigners. Instead of expanding U.S. refugee processing in Central America and increasing aid to stabilize the region, he has further militarized the border and stoked fear against unarmed women and children that only emboldens racists and domestic terrorists.
“I take solace in knowing that I stand with the American people, who have rejected and will continue to stand against the President’s hateful agenda. We are better than this.”