California’s senators pledge to lead effort to roll back Trump’s refugee ban


California's U.S. senators are vowing to lead the congressional opposition to President Donald Trump's executive order banning U.S. entry to refugees and citizens of seven Muslim nations, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein drawing up legislation that she plans to introduce on Monday.

Feinstein said she’ll file a pair of bills, one of which would seek to rescind Trump's executive order. Trump is denying entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, banning Syrian refugees indefinitely and prohibiting citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days.

Feinstein said her second bill aims to limit executive authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act so the president “would not be able to unilaterally ban groups of immigrants.”

“Congress must take swift action in response to President Trump's discriminatory order,” Feinstein said in tweet on Sunday afternoon.

Feinstein is a Democrat and would need Republican support for her legislation to be successful. Republicans have 52 of the Senate's 100 seats and at least four Republican senators have said the order is extreme.

California's freshman Democratic senator Kamala Harris is emerging as a protest leader against Trump and spoke at a Sunday rally in front of the White House.

"We will not stand for this!" said Harris, who is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2020. "We are going to fight for ourselves, fight for our Muslim brothers and sisters."

Harris said she spoke by phone to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Saturday night and told him to drop the ban, and followed up with a letter saying the Trump administration needs to immediately comply with court orders blocking deportations made under the president's executive order.

The Department of Homeland Security said the court rulings would not stop implementation of Trump's order. “This violates the rule of law, and is wreaking havoc and instilling fear throughout the country,” Harris said.

California Republicans in Congress, though, defended the president. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, called it a “useful temporary measure’

"In light of attempts by jihadist groups to infiltrate fighters into refugee flows to the West, along with Europe’s tragic experience coping with this problem, the Trump Administration’s executive order on refugees is a common-sense security measure to prevent terror attacks on the homeland," Nunes said.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove agreed that the ban makes sense

"There is no unfettered right to enter the United States, and President Trump has a sworn responsibility to assure that those who do are not hostile to our Constitution or the rule of law," he said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, failed to respond when asked his position on the ban.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, was more forthcoming, saying that Trump’s executive order “betrays everything the Statue of Liberty and our nation stand for.・

Pelosi said that House Democrats will introduce their own legislation to rescind the ban, led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

Sean Cockerham: 202-383-6016, @seancockerham