- Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said Monday that President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries is “illegal and unconstitutional” and vowed to fight it along with other Democratic senators.

The Democrat told hundreds of immigrant advocates on Monday in Santa Fe that senators also will do all they can to challenge Trump’s call to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. “We in the Senate…we stand strong, and you are going to see us stay strong against this kind of discrimination,” Udall said. “But you need to help us stand strong.”

After speaking in front of immigrant advocates, Udall then addressed a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature and said immigrants brought new ideas and new energy to the country.

“Our president has leveled an unfair and divisive attack on immigrants. I fear his rhetoric will breed more hate and fear,” Udall said, drawing applause from the Democratically controlled New Mexico House and Senate. “We all must stand up against it.”

Advocates gathered in the capital of the state with the highest percentage of Hispanic residents to denounce Trump’s travel ban and to demand protection for immigrants who live in the country illegally.

Trump’s order includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

The order is tied up in the federal courts.

Following Udall’s address, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced his office would join 14 other attorneys general in opposing Trump’s executive order. The attorneys general filed their brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and argued in support of the temporary restraining order that blocks the order.

“New Mexico has welcomed hundreds of students, scholars, doctors, and other lawful visa-holders from countries affected by this unlawful order,” Balderas said. “It is unfair, unconstitutional, and un-American that these community members and their families are being penalized based solely on their religion and national origin.”


Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at https://twitter.com/russcontreras . His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras.

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