NEW YORK: Indian American Senator Kamala Harris (D-Cal.) has lent support to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and 19 other Senators in introducing legislation to rescind President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Interior Enforcement, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of a vast majority of undocumented immigrants living and to cut off funding for communities that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
“Breaking up families and depriving cities of billions of dollars in critical federal funding doesn’t make our country safer – it dishonors our heritage as a nation of immigrants,” said Durbin, in a statement. “It’s time for Congress to stand up and make clear that we will not be intimidated by the President’s bullying. This legislation would end the Administration’s mass deportation scheme and begin to lay the groundwork for a smarter, fairer immigration approach. I thank Senator Cortez Masto for her leadership in introducing this bill.”
Duckworth said, in a statement: “America is at its best when we welcome immigrants who work hard every day to build a better life for themselves and their families. Ordering local officials to needlessly tear families apart is unacceptable – and it compromises public safety in communities across Illinois by fostering mistrust and suspicion between local law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect. I stand with the people of Cicero, of Evanston, of Urbana and of Chicago against these sorts of divisive actions in favor of the inclusive America I know we can be.”
Joining Cortez Masto, Durbin, and Duckworth as original co-sponsors are also U.S. Senators Mazie Horono (D-HI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Harris, the former California Attorney General, is becoming quite a force to reckon with on Capitol Hill, speaking up vociferously against nominees and policies of the Trump administration. She spoke against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. On Thursday, she recounted how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her father instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage, reported Roll Call.
“This act of self-determination made my sister Maya and myself, and it made us Americans, like millions of immigrants before and since,” Harris said. “I know she’s looking down on us today. And, knowing my mother, she’s probably saying, ‘Kamala, what on earth is going on down there?‘”
Kamala then took aim squarely at Trump’s recent executive actions on immigration, as well as increased raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arresting undocumented immigrants.
“In the early weeks of this administration, we have seen an unprecedented series of executive actions that have hit our immigrant and religious communities like a cold front striking a chilling fear in the hearts of millions of good, hard-working people,” Harris said.
She drew upon her experience as a prosecutor and said, “I know what a crime looks like and I will tell you an undocumented immigrant is not a criminal.”
Along with immigration, Harris is also likely to spend much of her time focused on intelligence issues as a freshman member who holds a seat on the often-secretive Intelligence Committee, reported Roll Call.
Harris sought a seat on the panel, according to a person familiar with her appointment, the only freshman in either party serving on the panel. She has already appeared at a rally outside the White House protesting the ban on entry from the seven Muslim-majority countries, and she spoke at the women’s march the day after Trump took office.