- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s Democratic U.S. senators said Monday they and others are considering trying to defund the departments that are carrying out President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven majority Muslim countries.

Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez said the order is unconstitutional and could end up jeopardizing national security.

Menendez said that when the federal budget is debated, “there may be challenges to defund the operation of any departments that would carry out the executive order.”

The executive order signed Friday prompted protests at airports around the country. Federal judges in New York and several other states issued orders that temporarily block the government from deporting people with valid visas who arrived after the travel ban took effect.

Menendez said he hopes Republican senators who have questioned the order, such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, “will have the courage to stand up and join us and hopefully others as well.”

Booker noted the case of an Iraqi man who had served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army and was detained during the weekend at New York’s JFK Airport before being released.

“It sends the global message, ‘Don’t join the Americans because one day they’ll turn their back on you,’” he said.

The mayors of Newark and Jersey City reiterated their positions that they’ll resist Trump’s efforts to withhold federal grants from so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to hand over non-criminal immigrants to federal authorities.

“We will not be bullied,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said.

Three Republican New Jersey congressmen have suggested Trump reconsider parts of the ban. One of them, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, said that while he supports strengthening the refugee screening process, the “hasty execution” created confusion.

Another Republican, Rep. Tom MacArthur, said that “while I believe this could have been implemented better, I applaud (President Trump) for acting.” He said Trump “deserves the chance to make our country safer.”

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