The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to condemn the recent Executive Order issued by President Donald J. Trump which bars entry to the United States for certain nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations. The resolution recognizes the unique importance of immigration to the history of Massachusetts since its founding, through the present.
The resolution highlights the Senate’s concerns with President Trump’s January 27th Executive Order on constitutional, moral, and policy grounds. The immigration edict has already impacted individuals arriving in Massachusetts via Logan International Airport, including two University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professors.
“Freedom of religion is central to our strength as a democracy, both as a nation and as a Commonwealth. We will continue to defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens and immigrants of Massachusetts who contribute so much to our culture and our economy. To do nothing in the face of an attack on one of our core freedoms would suggest that we will accept the slow erosion of our Constitutional rights, but we absolutely never will,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
“Over the weekend, thousands of Massachusetts residents voiced their disapproval of this order in private conversations and public demonstrations, and displayed the very best of American values: freedom of religion and equal protection under the law. The Senate passed this resolution today in solidarity with those affected by the order, and sends an important message that the Massachusetts State Senate rejects discrimination based on race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or religion,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, the sponsor of the resolution. “It is my hope that state senates across our country will consider similar resolutions in response to this Presidential Executive Order.”
Senator Julian Cyr cited the importance of immigrant communities on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket when he spoke about his support for this Resolution.
“Our communities were founded by some of the very first immigrants on these shores. We have a tradition on the Cape and Islands that welcomes diversity as a strength, not a threat; our seasonal economy and culture are stronger and brighter because of immigrant communities. I was proud to stand in solidarity with those affected by the executive order in protest over the weekend, and I am encouraged that this resolution was passed unanimously by all members of the Senate, Republican and Democrat alike.”
The full text of the resolution is below:
RESOLUTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE JANUARY 27, 2017 PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER.
WHEREAS, IMMIGRANTS FOUNDED THIS COMMONWEALTH NEARLY 4 CENTURIES AGO; AND
WHEREAS, THIS NATION AND THIS COMMONWEALTH ARE PROUD OF OUR STRONG TRADITION OF WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES TO OUR SHORES; AND
WHEREAS, OUR NATION AND THIS COMMONWEALTH HAVE STOOD AS A BEACON OF HOPE FOR REFUGEES FLEEING WAR, VIOLENCE AND PERSECUTION; AND
WHEREAS, IMMIGRANTS PLAY AN ESSENTIAL PART IN STRENGTHENING THE COMMUNITIES AND ENRICHING THE SOCIETY OF THIS NATION AND THIS COMMONWEALTH; AND
WHEREAS, IMPORTANT SECTORS OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S ECONOMY, INCLUDING HIGHER EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE AND INNOVATION, DEPEND HEAVILY ON IMMIGRANTS’ CONTRIBUTIONS; AND
WHEREAS, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER PROHIBITS MANY FOREIGN STUDENTS, WORKERS AND OTHER VISA HOLDERS FROM 7 TARGETED MAJORITY-MUSLIM
NATIONS, INCLUDING MANY WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN VETTED AND DOCUMENTED, FROM ENTERING THE UNITED STATES FOR AT LEAST 90 DAYS, SUSPENDS THE U.S. REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAM FOR 120 DAYS AND RESUMES THE U.S. REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAM AFTER 120 DAYS ONLY FOR NATIONALS OF COUNTRIES AS DETERMINED JOINTLY BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE, THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE; AND
WHEREAS, THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION PROTECTS THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER PRIORITIZES THE ADMISSION OF REFUGEES BASED ON SPECIFIC RELIGIONS; AND
WHEREAS, MUCH OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE NATION’S AND THE COMMONWEALTH’S STRONG TRADITION OF WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES TO OUR SHORES, WHILE NOT CONCLUSIVELY CONTRIBUTING TO THE IMPORTANT GOAL OF KEEPING OUR RESIDENTS SAFE AND SECURE FROM TERRORISM; AND
WHEREAS, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER PRESENTS SERIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES OF DUE PROCESS, EQUAL PROTECTION AND DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RELIGION AND NATIONAL ORIGIN; NOW THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, THAT THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE:
(1) REAFFIRMS THE COMMONWEALTH’S STRONG TRADITION OF WELCOMING IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES AND REJECTING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE, ETHNICITY, GENDER OR RELIGION;
(2) CALLS ON PRESIDENT TRUMP TO RECONSIDER AND RESCIND THOSE PORTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT INTERFERE WITH THE RIGHTS OF ALREADY DOCUMENTED STUDENTS, WORKERS, PERMANENT RESIDENTS AND OTHER VISITORS;
(3) SUPPORTS THE LEGAL ACTIONS OF OUR ATTORNEY GENERAL AND OTHER PLAINTIFFS TO CONTEST THE LEGALITY OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER IN COURT; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT COPIES OF THESE RESOLUTIONS SHALL BE TRANSMITTED FORTHWITH BY THE CLERK OF THE SENATE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THOSE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH.