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Trump's Executive Order On Refugees Sparks Fierce Debate At California Capitol

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Protesters hold signs at Sacramento International Airport on January 29, 2017, at a demonstration against President Trump's executive order banning travel to the U.S. for refugees and immigrants from seven countries.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

President Trump's executive order on refugees dominated the California state Capitol Monday.
The California Senate passed a non-binding resolution that called the action unconstitutional.

Democrats unanimously slammed the executive order.

“A more accurate term for ‘extreme vetting’ would be ‘extreme cynicism,’ ‘extreme selfishness’ or even ‘extreme cowardice,’” says Sen. Josh Newman.

Most Republicans supported the president’s action.

“I think the question is, is this body more committed to defeating our president or to defeating terrorism?” said Sen. Ted Gaines.

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Sen. Joel Anderson, who served as a Trump delegate to last summer's Republican convention, acknowledged a “rocky“ start to the order's implementation but called its goals “admirable.“

Listen to Anderson's interview with Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler:


Two GOP senators abstained – including Sen. Janet Nguyen, who was five years old when her family escaped from Vietnam in a tiny wooden boat.

“I personally understand the plight of refugees and sympathize with their experiences,“ she said during Senate debate. “But in the end, the debate is about national security.”

Meanwhile, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes issued a statement that appeared to criticize the president’s action, at least to a point: “While bolstering our national security is important, when forced to decide between security and liberty, I will always side with liberty.”

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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