Local Islamic and Jewish community protest immigration ban

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 20:03:56-05

Islamic and Jewish community members are calling for President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to lift travel restrictions banning immigrants from entering through Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Yemen.

Members from "Milwaukee Jewish Voice for Peace" and "Chicago Jewish Voice for Peace" rallied outside Ryan's office in Racine Monday afternoon and hand-delivered a letter to his representatives.

"Recognizing the calamitous implications of turning away refugees, we are delivering a letter calling on the congressman to publicly rescind support for President Trump’s executive order banning the entry of refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries," Rabbi Brant Rosen said. "It is immoral and disgraceful to turn away people who are fleeing persecution and war in their home countries. As Jews, we are keenly aware that multitudes of European Jews were turned away from our country (and other nations around the world) during World War II. Many of those turned away eventually perished in the Holocaust. Even after the end of the war, scores of Jews and other refugees languished for years in internment camps because no country was willing to take them in."

Although Trump's immigration ban impacts Muslim-majority countries, protests and rallies across the nation have drawn in people from all walks of life.

“We are a nation of immigrants," Rachel Ida Buff with Milwaukee Jewish Voice for Peace said. "What does it mean if we don’t let people in? These are not people who decide over breakfast that it would be a good idea to flee. You put a kid in a leaky boat if their land is unsafe. How could we not be involved?”

The local Muslim community also held a news conference Monday criticizing Trump's travel ban, stating they believe it's targeted directly toward Muslims.

"There is no visa ban on Saudi Arabia, the country that produced the 9/11 hijackers which clearly indicates this is clearly motivated by religious and racial bigotry," Janan Najeeb said.

The American Civil Liberties Union is also representing immigrants across the country who are fighting Trump's new policy.

“Trump’s executive order violates the first amendment which prohibits the government from preferring or disfavoring a religion," Emilio De Torre with the ACLU said. "This policy also violates the 14th amendment which guarantees that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law."

The immigration ban also doesn't sit well with Democratic State Rep. JoCasta Zamarippa.

“I call on President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to denounce and immediately rescind the shameful, discriminatory, careless order that was signed Friday. This is the United States and we are better than this."

House Speaker Ryan was in Washington D.C. Monday when the letter opposing Trump's immigration orders were delivered.

"This is not a religious test and it is not a ban on people of any religion," Ryan's press secretary said in an email to TODAY'S TMJ4. 

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