NEWARK, NJ – US Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the following statement in reaction to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration.

“This is a terrible and ugly decision by a President who is more concerned with right-wing fringe movements than doing what’s right for all of America, for the economy, and for the future of this country. Donald Trump started his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, and he is shamefully starting his Presidency by declaring open season on immigrants and refugees, and making taxpayers foot the bill for his nativist impulses.

“But it is clear to me that President Trump simply does not comprehend the full magnitude or the real human cost of this decision. The way he is blindly signing sweeping executive orders, it appears he is already being held hostage by the most extreme anti-immigrant members of his inner circle. 

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“In the face of the White House’s nativist agenda, Americans must rise above and remember that it was our immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents who built this nation, fueled the industrial revolution, kept our factories running, built our roads and highways, worked hard, started businesses, defeated fascism in all corners of the globe, became part of the greatest generation, and gave this generation a chance to reach our full potential. Immigration did that.

“The American immigration system was not broken overnight, and it will not be solved overnight. No one disputes that. But by attempting to fix it through the building of an offensive and divisive wall, ramping up detention, threatening to ban refugees fleeing horrific violence, entangling local law enforcement in immigration matters, and creating deportation forces that will separate families who are part of our communities, President Trump is only cementing his place on the wrong side of common-sense, political realism and our American history. A deportation and enforcement only approach is not the solution. We must not abandon our values and the rule of law that we hold up as an example to other nations. 

“The fact remains, to prevent playing a game of whack-a-mole with President Trump’s attacks on our immigrant and refugee communities, Congress must again begin the debate on comprehensive immigration reform to bring our immigration system into the 21st Century. We must not turn our back on those who come to America for freedom and opportunity. Now more than ever, we need leaders from both sides of the aisle who understand what the immigrant experience, immigrant history, and immigrant heritage means to the progress of this nation.”