N.Y. officials stick to positions on travel ban

ALBANY -- A revised version of President Donald Trump's restrictions on immigrant travel did little to change the minds of many of New York's top elected officials Monday.
 
Top Democrats from the heavily blue state condemned the new version of Trump's executive order, unpersuaded by a number of changes to scale it back and make it less susceptible to legal challenge.
 
Some of the Republican contingent of New York's congressional delegation, meanwhile, embraced the order, saying it makes the country safer.
 
Trump signed the new version Monday, banning travel to the U.S. by natives of six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days while suspending the refugee program for 120 days.
It takes effect March 16.
 
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, called the new ban "antithetical to our American values and what the Statue of Liberty stands for."
 
“President Trump’s updated Executive Order is still cold-hearted, discriminatory and detrimental to our security," she said in a statement.
 
New York has been among the state and local governments that challenged Trump's original ban, which was broader in scope and included a seventh country, Iraq.
 
Trump's revised order details terrorism organizations that are active in each of the remaining six countries -- Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Syria -- as justification for the temporary ban, saying their nationals present "heightened risks to the security of the United States."

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who signed on to a lawsuit challenging the original ban, signaled he's prepared to take the issue to court again.

"My office is closely reviewing the new executive order, and I stand ready to litigate -- again -- in order to protect New York’s families, institutions, and economy," he said in a statement.
 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, did not comment Monday on the revised ban. He returned to New York City early in the day after a brief trip to Israel over the weekend, where he condemned anti-Semitism and a rash of hate crimes in the U.S.

A pair of congressional Republicans from the Empire State backed the revised ban, including Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County, one of Trump's biggest supporters in Congress.
 
Collins had been concerned with a portion of Trump's previous order that appeared to expedite a bio-metric screening process for all travelers to the U.S., including at the northern border. But the new order limits it to travelers that fall within the order's restrictions.
 
“The new Executive Order successfully addresses my previous concerns related to the bio-metric exit-entry program, while refining its core principles of increased screening for individuals entering our country and keeping Americans safe," Collins said in a statement.
 
Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, Columbia County, said he supports Trump's latest order, in part because it removed Iraq, which has aided the U.S. in battling the Islamic State.
 
Faso expressed reservations about the initial order, questioning its implementation.
 
"For its narrower scope and attention to allies who have aided us in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, this is an order which I can support,” Faso said in a statement.
 
Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Steuben County, said Trump's order is "consistent with the core principles of our
 
Constitution which protects all American citizens.”
 
Others were unconvinced.
 
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, Monroe County, said Trump's new order is an attempt to get a "de facto Muslim ban through the courts."
 
"This is an immoral attempt to fulfill a campaign talking point, not about keeping our country safe," she said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said a "watered down ban is still a ban."
 
"Despite the administration’s changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American," he said in a statement.
 
Schumer and Gillibrand have faced criticism in recent days from conservatives after Tanveer Hussain, an Indian snowshoe racer, was arrested on a sexual abuse charge in Saranac Lake, where he was competing in a race.
 
Prior to the arrest, the senators contacted the U.S. Embassy in India after the racer's original visa request was denied, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
 
Hussain, however, would not have been affected by either Trump's original or revised executive order. Hussain is not a refugee, and India is not one of the countries affected by the order.
 
 
 

Gannett Albany


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