Politics

Democrats Do What They Can With What They Have

Members demand meeting with Homeland Security secretary

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng plans to introduce a bill on the House floor to prevent a controversial executive order signed by President Donald Trump from taking further effect. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats want to keep pressure on Republicans amid the fallout over the Trump administration’s executive order banning refugees and legal travelers from several majority-Muslim countries.

Although Democrats in the chamber have little recourse to force votes on legislation, several high-ranking committee members are demanding answers from the Homeland Security secretary at the same time that others are readying legislation to rescind the executive action and keep the heat on the GOP. Democrats Rally at Supreme Court Against Trump Ban

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng , for instance, is calling for co-sponsors of a bill she introduced Monday to put the kibosh on the order, similar to legislation Senate Democrats are pushing in the other chamber.

“Not only is President Trump’s ban bad policy, it is unconstitutional,” the Queens Democrat wrote in a Monday “Dear Colleague” letter.

The administration maintains the purpose is not to keep Muslims out of the U.S. but to thoroughly review the vetting process involved in admitting immigrants and refugees.

But Democrats, and some Republicans, said the order went too far and was targeting people for being of a certain religion.

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Meanwhile, four ranking members of committees that have jurisdiction over immigration, border security and the admission of refugees are requesting an emergency meeting with Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly this week to raise their concerns over the order.

A letter sent by Reps. John Conyers Jr. of the Judiciary Committee, Eliot L. Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Bennie G. Thompson of the Homeland Security Committee and Zoe Lofgren, of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommitte on Immigration and Border Security, asks Kelly to meet them by Wednesday.

The Democratic lawmakers also want to ask what administration officials knew about the order before and after the president signed it, citing reports from over the weekend that some officials learned of the memo after it took effect.

“Only two days after the order was signed, it is clear that it has already led to panic and disorder, not to mention protests,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is apparently due in part to the lack of internal administration review prior to its issuance as well as a lack of clarity and guidance provided thereafter.”

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter

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