Rep. John Conyers, Jr. Remarks at forum on "An Examination of Trump’s Un-American Muslim and Refugee Ban”
Washington, DC, February 2, 2017
Today’s forum comes as our Nation stands at a crossroads. For decades, we have granted safe haven to families fleeing persecution and violence. Will we continue down that path of refuge, tolerance, and inclusion pursued across parties and Administrations, or will we veer down the path of intolerance, xenophobia, and paranoia as the current Administration appears to be heading?
If we are to correct course, it will require each and every participant in our republic to take action.
It will take actions by citizens such as we have seen over the last two weeks – in the Women’s March on Washington, and in spontaneous demonstrations that erupted all over the country.
It will take a free press -- not willing to simply “shut up” as the Administration has insisted -- reporting on the many abuses we have witnessed in the President’s first 14 days – such as the report over the weekend that Steven Bannon personally intervened to prevent legal permanent residents from being able to return to their homes, and the report last night that Mr. Trump insulted the Australian Prime Minister and compared Syrian refugees fleeing terrorism as being the “next Boston Bombers.”
It will take an independent judiciary, such as the five courts that stayed parts of the executive order over the weekend and last night; and independent Inspector Generals, such as the review announced today concerning legality of the Muslim ban.
It will take employees of the federal government, willing to offer their honest and principled dissents -- such as we have seen at the Department of Justice and the Department of State -- even when facing outrageous insults from the President and threats from the White House Press Secretary to simply “get with the program” or quit.
And it will take Members of Congress willing to stand together and speak truth to power which happened at the Supreme Court on Monday and is happening here today.
I take a back seat to no one in our Nation’s efforts to combat the threat of terrorism. That is why our refugee system already extensively vets and confirms each and every individual seeking entry to our country.
But we don’t defeat terrorism by alienating our allies, by dividing our citizens, or by shredding our Constitution. The sooner the Trump Administration comes to that realization, the sooner we can return to the values our Nation was founded upon.