N.Y. AG: Travel ban causes 'chaos'
For the second day in a row after President Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, protesters gathered by the hundreds and flooded their local airports. USA TODAY NETWORK
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York officials on Monday continued to protest the federal immigration order put in place late Friday, calling it unconstitutional and vowing to fight it in the courts.
The state's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined 15 other attorneys general from across the nation to oppose President Trump's order to bar citizens from seven nations from entering the country.
Schneiderman said New York is still trying to figure out who has been detained at New York airport and to find ways to get their proper legal representation.
"We are all in agreement that portions of this executive order are unconstitutional and ultimately will be struck down," Schneiderman said Monday on CBS' This Morning.
"We are very concerned about people who will be hurt between now and that ultimate ruling."
State Democratic leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, vowed to fight for the rights of immigrants caught up in the federal order from the seven countries, which are mainly Muslim: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
The state started a hotline Sunday to help immigrants with information: 1-888-769-7243.
"We welcome new immigrants to this country, and we do it on a daily basis," Cuomo said Sunday.
"We see them as a source of energy and as a source of revitalization. We are not threatened by new immigrants — we celebrate new immigrants."
On Monday, the Republican president defended the order, and his office said it is not aimed at Muslims, saying the measure is legal.
"We’ve moving things along. We’re moving them along fast," Trump said Monday after meeting with small business leaders at the Capitol.
"We actually had a very good day yesterday in terms of homeland security."
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, on Sunday got choked up as he talked about the effect the order has had on families and people detained at New York City airports.
"These orders make us less safe and less American," Schumer said. "This ham-handed directive sews chaos and feeds extremism and makes lone wolves more likely, not less.”
Trump mocked Schumer, calling them "fake tears" and saying it's a five percent chance they were real.
"I’m going to ask him who was his acting coach. Because I know him very well," Trump said Monday. "I don’t see him as a crier. If he is, he’s a different man."
Asked about Trump's comments, Schumer spokesman Jason Kaplan said, "We are not going to dignify that with a response."
Senate Democrats in Albany, meanwhile, proposed a series of measures to protect immigrants in New York, such as banning SUNY officials from asking about a student's immigration status if the aim is to help the federal government possibly deport a student.
"We plan and continue to plan to stand up to President Trump and his allies in the state Senate," said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. "We will lead the resistance here in New York state, and we will be an example for the nation and the world.
Schneiderman contended that at least parts of the order are illegal, pointing to the Establishment Clause — which bars discrimination based on religion — and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
He also wrote a letter to federal agencies for them to detail how they are responding to a federal court's injunction Saturday night on the order.
The Democratic attorney general, who has sparred with Trump in recent years, said he's concerned that federal agencies are not complying with the court decisions, despite saying that they are.
"It is being applied inconsistently, and there’s no transparency to the process," Schneiderman continued. "We don’t know who is being detained."
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, said Monday the order was "rolled out wrongly."
He said no one should be discriminated against, but doubted the order is aimed at a ban on Muslims, saying the countries targeted are the ones where terrorism is "festering."
"I think there weren’t enough people who understood what was happening, including border agents and custom agents," Astorino told reporters after attending a state Conservative Party conference near Albany.