(CNSNews.com) – The new asylum restrictions requiring immigrants to seek asylum in a country they pass through on their way to the U.S. is “anchored in and dripping with xenophobia,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday.
“We’ll take a look at his latest announcement, which I presume is anchored in and dripping with xenophobia. At the end of the day, we believe that America is great because America is good, and the goodness of the American people understand that we are a nation of immigrants. That has made us stronger as a country, not weaker,” he said at a Capitol Hill press conference.
“The American people fundamentally believe that we should focus on felons to the extent there is immigration enforcement. Donald Trump is targeting and focused on breaking up families, and in his failure to undermine existing U.S. law as it relates to the right for people to lawfully seek asylum at our borders and to present credible fears of persecution,” Jeffries said.
“That is what is happening down on the U.S.-Mexico border with families and young children in many instances fleeing persecution and presenting themselves to immigration authorities consistent with U.S. law. Donald Trump is undermining United States law. I think that’s something that the American people will reject,” the congressman added.
As CNSNews.com previously reported, the new rule published Tuesday in the National Register, requires aliens to apply for and be denied asylum in at least one country they pass through on their way to the U.S. If they passed through another country on the way to the U.S. border without applying for asylum in that country, they will be deemed ineligible for asylum in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the House is set to vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s remarks calling on four freshman Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested place from which they came then come back and show us it is done.”
Jeffries called on Republicans to join Democrats in voting in favor of the resolution.
“The decision has been made by leadership with the full support of the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus that this is the right approach to take at this moment,” the congressman said.
“There will be accountability measures that we’ll have to consider as we move forward, but at the moment that we’re in right now, we want the strongest vote possible, and we’re hopeful that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will put country ahead of party, would put decency ahead of Donald Trump. Let’s see what happens on the floor later on this evening,” he said.
“The person that needs to tone down the xenophobic and racist rhetoric that is consistently pedaled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is Donald J. Trump,” Jeffries said.
“In terms of what’s in front of us, there’s a resolution that lifts up American values with respect to America being a nation of immigrants – some voluntary, some involuntary – but as Dr. King said, we’re all in the same boat now. Our diversity is a strength. It is not a weakness, and we should come together not as Democrats or Republicans but as Americans to condemn the language that has offended so many that Donald Trump has used,” he added.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said Trump’s plan is to distract and divide Americans “so they can pickpocket us while we’re not looking.”
“Our focus as House Democrats is on the division that this president continues to sow. This is his plan – to take people’s fears and anxieties and to divide us as a country. What House Democrats are uniform for is that we are saying, whether you are white, black, brown, Asian or Native American, we are building a future,” she said.
“We have an agenda that will ensure that you have a place in our economy, that you have a place where you can have a family, live the American dream. This president with his racist attacks is showing us that he is not concerned with anything but further enriching those who are already rich and powerful, and his plan is to distract us, to divide us so they can pickpocket us while we’re not looking,” Clark said.
“That is what we are speaking out against – this attack on American values, this attack on trying to be a country that is the United States of America, not the divided states. That’s what we’re saying, and the tactics are second to that purpose of holding this administration accountable for their racist comments that are trying to so those seeds of division,” she said.