PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — Rhode Island lawmakers are speaking out against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from several, mostly Muslim countries.
The 5-4 decision Tuesday rejected a challenge that the ban discriminated against Muslims or exceeded Trump’s authority. A dissenting justice said it was a historic mistake.
Gov. Gina Raimondo called the ban “immoral and unnecessary,” saying Rhode Island has always been strengthened by the contribution of immigrants and they’ll continue to be welcomed in the state.
“Rhode Island was founded on the idea that freedom of worship is an inherent human right,” Raimondo said in a statement. “It’s now more important than ever that we show the world that there’s a place for everyone in Rhode Island. No matter your race, where you’re from, your immigration status or who you love – you are welcome here.”
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed called the ruling “a serious blow to religious freedom.”
“Systematically discriminating against Muslims doesn’t make America safer,” he said. “The Trump administration should focus on security measures that actually help protect our nation, rather than those that simply pander to his political base.”
Congressman Jim Langevin said the ban is discriminatory and unjustifiable.
“Discrimination of this sort is unjustifiable and directly contradicts the American ideals of freedom and opportunity,” Langevin said in a statement. “I trust that the lower courts will, upon further review, continue to brand this xenophobic policy as immoral and unlawful.”
Deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court #TravelBan ruling today. As made clear during my questions of then Secretary Kelly, there is no specific intelligence backing this ban, and it can only be viewed as an expression of the President’s ill will toward Muslims.— Jim Langevin (@JimLangevin) June 26, 2018
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also spoke out against the ruling, saying the decision “reflects poorly” on the Supreme Court.
Steven Brown, of the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU, said the Supreme Court’s decisions affect “real people in very concrete and devastating ways,” citing the organization’s lawsuit on behalf of Rhode Island resident Lillian Calderon.
“We encourage all Rhode Islanders to speak out and join with us in continuing to fight these attacks on our basic human rights,” Brown said in a statement.
Reed said he plans to work on legislation to check the president’s authority to issue orders like the travel ban, so it’s clear that “bigotry has no home in America.”
While many lawmakers are decrying the ruling, Mike Stenhouse from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity believes the Supreme Court “did the right thing,” and that the travel ban makes no mention of a particular religion.