By Jonathan J. Cooper
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Democrats in the California state Senate condemned President Donald Trump's immigration executive order on Monday, approving a resolution calling it a "discriminatory overreach" and commending attorneys who are fighting it.
Pointing to the nation's long history of immigration, Democratic senators said Trump's order defies the nation's values and promotes recruiting campaigns by terrorist groups. Republicans stood up for the GOP president, saying his order on Friday protects the country from terrorists.
In a fiery speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, read the inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants to the United States, which ends "I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
"Our lamp," Jackson said. "Not our middle finger."
Trump's order pauses America's refugee program and restricts travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations. It sparked protests at airports around the country over the weekend as dozens of people were prohibited from entering the country.
"The actions of the president are in fact anti-Muslim," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who wrote the resolution. "And if they're anti Muslim, they are un-American."
Most GOP lawmakers opposed the resolution and said Democrats were exaggerating the effects of Trump's executive order.
"This is not about nationality or religion or ethnicity," said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. "This is about evil people with evil intent, and their intent imperils our families and our security."
Two Republicans, Sens. Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Janet Nguyen of Fountain Valley, did not cast votes.
Meanwhile, the Assembly approved a resolution to recognize Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American man who challenged the executive order that forced Japanese people into internment camps during World War II. The Supreme Court ruled against Korematsu, but his case influenced the U.S. government's formal apology for Japanese internment in 1988. Several members of the Assembly drew comparisons between Trump's executive order and the one that authorized Japanese internment.
Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Oceanside, spoke in support of the measure and criticized Trump's immigration order.
"I was very heartened by the fact that the federal judge put a stay on the action in New York," Chavez said. "I believe that we have a balanced government that will speak up and we have a free press and we have members like us to speak up and say, 'You know what? That's wrong because that's not what this country's about.' "
The Assembly invited a Muslim leader from Roseville to deliver the session's opening prayer. While Imam Mohamed Abdul-Azeez did not explicitly mention Trump's executive order, the invitation was intended to send a message about the immigration ban, said Kevin Liao, a spokesman for Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount.
Associated Press writer Sophia Bollag contributed.