(Updated at 3:58 p.m.) Gold star father and outspoken Trump opponent Khizr Khan joined Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday to condemn President Donald Trump’s controversial “Muslim ban.”
Speaking to a small crowd of reporters during a press conference, Khan denounced Trump’s recent executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. He also said Trump was running a “clown show” out of the White House.
“This way of governing is alienating my country,” Khan said. “Muslims are alienated within the United States.”
Khan joined Beyer and a handful of other congressional representatives to reintroduce the Freedom of Religion Act, a bill that Beyer first unveiled last May. If passed, the Freedom of Religion Act would ban the government from denying entry to immigrants, refugees and international visitors on the basis of religion.
“We’re reintroducing the Freedom of Religion Act because we want to be sure that, regardless of the executive order or president, now or in the future, the message is clear,” Beyer said. “We cannot discriminate based on religion in our immigration system.”
Last weekend, Beyer and three other local congressmen visited Dulles International Airport to try and speak to Customs and Border Protection officials who were detaining a number of travelers. They were ultimately unsuccessful.
“I spent hours at Dulles Airport helping grieving families reconnect with their loved ones detained or deported by President Trump’s Muslim ban,” Beyer said. “Today’s legislation won’t erase the pain from President Trump’s ban, but it will ensure that this sort of immoral action never happens again and show the world that America still honors its founding principles.”
Several of the bill’s co-sponsors, including Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.), also spoke at the news conference.
Clutching a small copy of the constitution in her hand, Schakowsky recounted how Khan and his wife, Ghazala, “galvanized the entire nation” during a speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer.
“President Trump’s Muslim ban, and let’s not call it by any other name, undermines our values as a nation,” Schakowsky said. “Bigotry does not make America great.”
Still, the bill stands little chance of passing, Beyer said, as it currently has no Republican co-sponsors. However, as the “human consequences” of the executive order become more apparent, the bill could gain more support from both sides of the aisle, he added.
“As people become aware, then we may hopefully get many more Republicans and a chance at passing,” Beyer said.