Editor’s note: Councilor Pete Sheehey delivered the following statement at Tuesday’s County Council work session in White Rock:
President Trump’s Jan. 27 Executive Order suspending visits or immigration to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries for three months, and stopping processing or entry of any refugees for four months, has caused tremendous controversy.
The courts will decide whether or not this order violates anyone’s rights to due process or equal protection under the US Constitution and law. I am compelled to speak on this today.
Certainly we as a nation are entitled to defend ourselves, and to deny entry to anyone who plans to commit criminal or terrorist acts. However, we are a nation of immigrants and refugees. It is our moral obligation to treat all such people as we would be treated, with justice and compassion.
When we take actions that are seen as unjust or inconsiderate, it diminishes us and plays into the hands of our enemies. The intent of this order – to review and improve our vetting process for immigrants and refugees – is something that I fully support, and that needs to be done promptly.
This can be done without suspending the processing of thousands of immigrants and refugees whose lives could be improved (in some cases saved) by coming to this country. These people can make many contributions to our common welfare.
I urge the President to revise his Executive Order to reflect American values: that we treat all people, including immigrants and refugees, with respect, justice and compassion.
I invite my fellow Councilors to discuss this with our residents, and consider passing a Council resolution stating our community’s values on this issue.