The advocacy group says the executive order, which has prompted immediate criticism, has underlying motive to ban people of the Islamic faith
The Statue of Liberty would be weeping, Donald Trump was told on Friday, amid mounting condemnation of his announcement of draconian new extreme vetting measures for refugees seeking to come to the United States.
Trumps plan would suspend the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for 90 days, ban refugees from Syria indefinitely, suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days, cut refugee numbers down to a maximum of 50,000 in 2017 (less than half the previous years figure of 117,000), and prioritise refugee claims if the refugee is a member of a minority religion a clear attempt to carve out an exception for Christians.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations immediately announced it would be filing a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the order because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
There is no evidence that refugees the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation are a threat to national security, said CAIRs Lena F Masri. This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani campaigner for girls education who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban at age 15, said she was heartbroken that America was turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.
She added: I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled out for discrimination.
Yousafzai gave the example of a girl called Zaynab, who fled wars in three countries Somalia, Yemen and Egypt before she was even 17. Zaynab received a visa to come to the US, she said, where she learned English, graduated high school and is now in college studying to be a human rights lawyer.
Zaynab was separated from her little sister when she fled unrest in Egypt, said Yousafzai. Today her hope of being reunited with her precious sister dims.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement he was concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.
Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said his great-grandparents came to the US from Germany, Austria and Poland and his wifes parents were refugees from China and Vietnam.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and we should be proud of that, he said.
He added: Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who dont pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.
We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. Thats who we are. Had we turned away refugees a few decades ago, Priscillas family wouldnt be here today.
Zuckerberg expressed a hope that Trump would not reverse Barack Obamas decision to allow undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children to work in the US.
Khizr Khan, whose son Humayun Khan died saving his unit from an Iraqi suicide bomb and was a focus of attacks by Trump earlier this year said the presidents race to violate constitutional principles and fundamental American values by targeting Muslims and immigrants is of tremendous concern.
It is incumbent on every single American to speak out against Trumps actions today and every further step he and his administration may take to discriminate against Muslims, he added.
Chuck Schumer, Democratic leader in the Senate, said: Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon.
Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.
Zoe Lofgren, senior Democrat on the House judiciary, immigration and border security subcommittee, said she was seeking legal analysis of Trumps executive order and would issue a comprehensive review soon.
It seems clear that the effects of todays orders will be discriminatory and isolationist, Lofgren said. They are un-American, driven by xenophobia and will damage our nations standing around the world.
She added: Perhaps most troubling, todays executive order issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, no less recalls a dark episode in American history. Just over 75 years ago, a ship called the St Louis, carrying nearly a thousand Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, sailed so close to the United States that passengers could see the lights of Miami.
But rather than welcome these refugees, America turned them away. Many of these Jewish refugees were killed by the Nazis when they were forced to return to Europe.
Making sure that such a tragedy never happens again became the bedrock of US and international refugee and asylum law and policy. Mr Trumps actions today upend this foundational principle and endanger millions all over the world.
Earlier this week, Nihad Awad of CAIR said Muslims would be the sole targets of Trumps action.
These orders are a disturbing confirmation of Islamophobic and un-American policy proposals made during the presidential election campaign, he said, as details of Trumps plans were leaked to the press.
One of our nations darkest moments was during [the second world war], when we turned away Jewish refugees seeking our protection. We cannot allow religious bigotry to effect our willingness and ability to welcome those fleeing violence and persecution.
Manar Waheed, a former political appointee for the Obama administration, told the Guardian Trumps order was a de facto ban on Muslims that would only serve to alienate key allies across the globe and millions of Muslims living in the US.
National security and terrorism should be focused on facts of individuals, not blanket assumptions or presumptions or exclusions, said Waheed, who was deputy policy director for immigration at the White House domestic policy council from 2014 until the end of Barack Obamas presidency.
Were in this moment where Muslim communities are being pushed into the corners of our society … This is discriminating against people based on their faith and national origin.
David Miliband, president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, said refugees were fleeing terror they are not terrorists.
At a time when there are more refugees than ever, America must remain true to its core values, the former British foreign secretary said. America must remain a beacon of hope.
He added: America has the strongest, most successful resettlement program in the world. Certified by successive administrations, the US resettlement program makes it harder to get to the United States as a refugee than any other route. This is one of many reasons to deplore the hasty decision made today.
The US has probably the most intensive screening process in the world for refugees: it requires they register and interview with the United Nations, which then must refer them to the US.
Refugees who pass this test then interview with state department contractors and have at least two background checks; then they have three fingerprint and photo screenings; then US immigration reviews the case; then homeland security interviews the refugee; then a doctor examines the refugee; and finally several security agencies perform one last check after the refugee has been matched with a resettlement agency. The process takes 18 months to two years.
Speaking on Thursday, a day before Trump announced his shift in refugee policy, Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state, quoted the words enshrined beneath the Statue of Liberty. They read: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, said Albright, who came to the US as a child when her family fled Nazi persecution. Today she is weeping because of the actions of President Trump.
Additional reporting by Alan Yuhas in San Francisco