Despite the changes, Donald Trump's new executive order on immigration isn't drawing many fans from the Democratic side of the aisle, especially not Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump's new order excludes Iraq from its list of restricted countries but retains restrictions on the remaining countries as well as a temporary ban on all refugees. In response, Sanders spoke out against the new order, calling it racist and anti-Islamic.
Sanders was notably one of Congress' harshest critics of Trump's original executive order. The congressman participated in at least one protest against the order and, in a tweet, wrote that the "Muslim ban is un-American, is unconstitutional and is going to make us less safe, not more safe." Sanders echoed those sentiments in response to the new, revised order. In a statement on Monday, Sanders wrote:
Let’s call it what it is. This ban is a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to divide us up. A president who respected our traditions of religious freedom would not have resorted to hateful, anti-Islamic rhetoric to justify a ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries. Even the Department of Homeland Security has said that citizenship is not a factor in terrorist threats. This isn’t about keeping America safe. A president responsible for keeping our citizens safe would not hand over ideological ammunition to terrorists seeking new recruits to kill Americans.
Sanders is himself the child of an immigrant. His father, Eli Sanders, immigrated to the U.S. from Poland back in 1921. However, his past support for immigration reform has been mixed. In 2007, the senator opposed an immigration reform bill on the grounds that an increase in guest workers would adversely affect job seekers already in the U.S. In the years since then, however, and during his presidential campaign, Sanders has called for a "fair and humane immigration policy."
The plan he proposed during his campaign was a far cry from Trump's and included provisions such as the dismantling of deportation programs, creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and protections for immigrant workers and whistleblowers.
Before his statement on the new executive order, Sanders had already spent the morning speaking out against Trump. "President Trump cannot continue to lie, lie, lie. It diminishes the office of the president and our standing in the world," Sanders wrote in one tweet regarding Trump's baseless claims that Obama wiretapped his phone. "The United States will not be respected or taken seriously around the world if @realDonaldTrump continues to shamelessly lie," he wrote in another posted only a few minutes later.
And when it comes to the new executive order, Sanders isn't alone in his criticism as a member of Congress. Many others have also spoken out against the new executive order, which Trump signed without cameras present. California Rep. Judy Chu, California Rep. Pete Aguilar, and Indiana Rep. André Carson were quick to speak out against the order, as well.