Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) predicted President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration would be overturned, as part of a series of criticisms of the order, in a talk sponsored by Georgetown University College Democrats Tuesday night.
“Friday’s action was a complete abdication of American originalism — the idea that this is a place where people can come from all over the world and become something unique,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he and his colleagues are taking a series of actions to counter the executive order, including pursuing legislation in the Senate to overturn the ban.
“As you know, there is a temporary stay that has been granted, and I believe that the ACLU will eventually prevail in court, at least with respect to non-refugee immigrants,” Murphy said.
Murphy said current law rules most clearly in favor of non-refugee immigrants, who he said should be protected by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
“The 1965 law is absolutely clear: Immigration policy cannot discriminate based upon religion or country of origin. It’s not as clear as to whether that protection applies to refugees, but it certainly applies to individuals with green cards, with non-immigrant visas in this country,” Murphy said.
In light of last week’s National Democratic Committee Chair Debate on Jan. 14, wherein the seven candidates discussed the future of the party, Murphy said the Democratic party has to take a clear stance on the issues.
“We haven’t given voters a real clear idea of what we stand for in a while,” Murphy said. “We need to start with what we’re for. If we’re confident in what we’re for, that will tell us what we should fight and what we should let go.”
Murphy said his party can run on a simple economic message that appeals to all voter blocs.
“Economic growth for everybody, not just millionaires and billionaires, and a country that has a place for everyone. There you go. There’s a sentence that says what we are for as a party,” Murphy said. “It starts with what you’re for.”
According to Murphy, Congress is still able to pass effective legislation, citing the progress of mental health legislation in the last congress. Former President Barack Obama signed the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 into law Dec. 13, which expanded federal resources for mental health. Murphy worked alongside Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to garner 28 co-sponsors, 14 Republicans and 14 Democrats to pass the bill through Congress.
“In our rearview mirror, within thirty days, we were able to do big, bipartisan reform. That bill is going to change peoples’ lives. It’s going to result in hundreds of millions of dollars in new mental healthcare offered to people who used to be on the outside of that system,” Murphy said.
While Murphy expressed concerns over the partisan nature of the 115th United States Congress, he said positive change is still possible in this new political era.
“By and large, that same set of players that did that is still in Congress. So yes, you have available to you bipartisan compromise,” Murphy said. “Where does that come? Infrastructure. Tax reform. Those are places in which we can find some common ground.”
Murphy said it is important for Georgetown students, and youth across the country, to get involved in politics and effect change.
“You’ve got a moment in time now that matters. You saw that tweet that somebody sent out that said, ‘When you were in history class and you thought to yourself, boy, what would I have done if I were alive then?’” Murphy said. “Well, you’re alive right now. And what you choose to do is what you would have done then.”
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