N.H. AG condemns Trump’s executive order on refugees, Gov. Sununu ‘monitoring’ impact 

  • State Attorney General Joseph Foster said he would oppose Donald Trump’s executive order. AP file

Monitor staff
Published: 1/30/2017 11:05:22 AM

New Hampshire Attorney General Joe Foster vowed to oppose President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven countries, while Gov. Chris Sununu said he assesses its impact.

On Monday, Foster pledged to join his peers in 16 other states to oppose to Trump’s executive order taking a worldwide pause on refugees coming into the United States.

“Religious liberty has been and always will be a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth,” Foster said in a statement Monday morning. “Targeting immigrants and others because of their national origin or faith violates that core principle and ignores our history as a nation of immigrants.”

Meanwhile, Sununu neither endorsed nor denounced the ban.

“We live in a dangerous world, and I will continue to support the strengthening of the vetting process, as it contributes directly to the safety and security of the people of New Hampshire,” Sununu said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I am closely monitoring the President’s executive order and our office is staying in communication with the White House and federal and state agencies to assess the impact of the order on New Hampshire.”

Foster said that while ensuring the safety of America’s citizens is “the most important function of our government,” it must be carried out in a way that respects those citizens’ constitutional rights.

“President Trump’s Executive Order restricting certain immigrants violates those rights and violates principles that are fundamental to our democracy,” Foster said.

Foster said this morning that he is not yet aware if any refugees destined for New Hampshire were affected by the ban.

“I don’t know of anybody yet brought to my attention,” he said.

Foster would join attorneys general from 16 other states opposing the ban, including neighboring Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.

In his statement, he cited temporary orders issued by multiple federal court judges, allowing some refugees detained in airports to enter the United States.

“I support those decisions and will join with other state attorneys general around the nation who share a similar commitment to defend our constitutional rights,” Foster said.

All four members of New Hampshire’s Democratic congressional delegation released statements this weekend in opposition to the ban.

In 2015, now-Sen. Maggie Hassan was the only Democratic governor to support a pause on Syrian refugees after violent attacks in Paris.

Hassan tried hard to differentiate her previous position from the executive order.

On Monday, officials from Hassan’s office told the Associated Press that she “strongly opposes this un-American and dangerous executive order which includes an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, something the Senator has never supported.”

“The Senator believes that we can strengthen the process for all entryways into the country while remaining true to our values and engaged in addressing this humanitarian crisis,” her spokesman continued.

Democratic leaders in the New Hampshire House and Senate released statements decrying the move as well.

“As a first-generation son of an immigrant, I am appalled by this weekend’s actions by President Trump,” said House Democratic Minority Leader Stephen Shurtleff of Penacook. “Our country’s history is based on religious freedom and compassion for refugees. It is my belief that through President Trump’s actions, our citizens, our military and our country as a whole are more in danger from our enemies than ever before.”

Business leaders in the state also expressed doubts about the recent ban.

“President Trump needs to balance protection of the homeland with access to talented workers from around the globe by U.S. employers, particularly high technology companies,” said Business and Industry Association President Jim Roche. “It appears the President’s directive over the weekend has fallen short of that goal and may require further refinement.”

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter

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