U.S. Rep. David Price denounced President Donald Trump’s executive order banning all immigrants and visa holders from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.
“We clearly have a national crisis. I believe it is a crisis of our constitutional and our moral values,” the Chapel Hill Democrat said during a press conference in Durham on Monday.
“The anxiety is palpable,” he said. “And all this because eight days into office, the president issued the most reckless, irresponsible, destructive kind of executive order that you could imagine.”
The congressman said a refugee has never carried out a terrorist act in the United States.
“It’s a fabrication but a very destructive one,” Price said. “He’s president of the United States, and these reckless actions have consequences for real people.”
It is widely held that there are approximately 70,000 refugees who passed an immigration vetting process and were determined as non-threats to national security and whose entries now are impermissible, Price said.
“Imagine,” he said. “Imagine, uprooting your entire existence, under threat of persecution, only to have the cabin door, slammed on you — slammed shut — when you are right on the brink of starting a new life.”
Price was joined at the podium by refugees from war-torn regions and countries spanning the Middle East, such as Afghanistan and Syria.
Mimi Fatuma wanted to talk about refugees because “I am one of them,” she said through interpreter Soni Muragizi, a case manager for Church World Service.
Fatuma, 50, arrived in Durham in early February 2015 after a journey from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“From my home country, I had to walk for two years, out of that nation, where I had to get asylum as a refugee,” Fatuma said. “I have been walking in the forest without knowing where I’m going.”
She now lives in Durham with four of her children, three of whom are adults. But during their exodus, decaying bodies strewn roadside were “normal” sights for her family, Fatuma said, “When we got thirsty we had to drink the water from the river with dead bodies inside in it.”
Zeedal Alzouobi fled Draa, Syria, where he was a chief, May 14, 2012, he said in an interview. He first went to Jordan where he was arrested and imprisoned for 4 ½ months because there was “a mix up” involving his name, he said. After getting out from behind bars, Alzouobi ended up in a refugee camp in Jordan, and his family joined him there.
The refugees in the camp were hungry and bitterly cold.
“Water, water, water everywhere was always flooded, and people usually slept standing because of the water,” Alzouobi said. “Everybody did get sick – everybody.”
Price said he planned to return to Washington to join fellow representatives in protesting the president’s executive order on the steps of the Supreme Court building Monday evening.
“This is not a spectator sport,” he said.