President Donald Trump on Friday took steps to cool off his anti-immigration battle with Mexico but just as quickly enraged practitioners of the world’s second-largest religion by targeting Muslims seeking to enter the United States with “extreme vetting.”
The latest Trump move wrapped up a busy first week of playing to his base by signing a slew of executive orders that must adhere to existing laws and in some cases be approved by Congress. Civil rights groups were not impressed with Friday’s order that also bans refugees from certain predominantly Muslim countries.
“President Trump rode a wave of bigotry into the White House and ushered in a new era of hostility against American Muslims. He campaigned as a demagogue and is now governing as a demagogue.,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Banning or profiling people of faith is ineffective for our national security; it fans flames of bigotry and makes us all less safe.”
In the ongoing debate over Trump’s directive earlier in the week to kick start completion of a nearly 2,000-mile border wall between the United States and Mexico, Trump on Friday spoke by phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto after the two canceled a scheduled face-to-face meeting in the wake of Trump’s wall order.
“Trump’s recent actions to build a wall around the country, to strike fear in the heart of immigrants, and now toward banning refugees and religious minorities make his America look more like a police state than the republic we truly are,” Henderson added.
In Colorado, refugee groups reacted just as strongly as national human rights groups, condemning Trump’s actions on Friday. And U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, also blasted the move that was a frequent Trump campaign promise.
“Turning our backs on some of the most vulnerable populations throughout the world because of their religion is contrary to our values, and will only serve to further divide us as a nation,” Polis said. “President Trump does not have the mandate for these extreme orders, and I will fight these harmful policies. These actions are highly disturbing, and they further underscore the need for both congressional Republicans and Democrats to come together and focus on fixing our broken immigration system in a practical and humane way.”
Trump’s proposal to impose a 20-percent important tax on Mexican goods to pay for his border wall could trigger a trade war with Colorado’s second-largest trading partner after Canada, with retaliatory tariffs that would likely hit Colorado’s agricultural and energy sectors the hardest.