Two senators on Friday, August 5 have responded to Donald Trump’s call to ban immigration from countries with high rates of terrorism, including the Philippines.
Denouncing the Republican nominee’s comments, the senators asserted that the Philippines is a key ally helping the United States fight terrorism and that Filipino immigrants have contributed largely to the United States.
“Donald Trump’s latest rant suggesting we ban immigration from countries like the Philippines that are helping us fight terrorism is another example of his reckless rhetoric that’s based on fear and division and further proves he is unfit to lead our country,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in a statement.
“For generations, Filipinos have made the United States their home. It is their vibrant culture, hard work, and strong values that have enriched our communities and made this country great, not the ignorant, racist bigotry of Donald Trump.”
Senator Nerissa Bretania Underwood of Guam, a Filipina, also condemned the Republican presidential nominee’s proposals, describing his rhetoric as divisive and “reckless.”
She called on the Republican delegates from Guam and Governor Eddie Calvo to renounce Trump and “unendorse his candidacy.”
In a statement, Underwood said, “Filipinos on our island and across the country serve in uniform, in our hospitals, in our schools and across every private and public sector — –Filipinos are also beloved members of our families and communities.”
“As a proud daughter from Iloilo in the Philippines…I am a grateful adopted daughter of Guam and horrified by Mr. Trump’s statement and the leaders who have chosen to support him. I have worked my entire life to give back to our island that we all call home. Hate, fear and division are not qualities we need in the U.S. President and should give Americans across the country concern on whether a Trump administration is fit to lead our country,” Underwood added.
The day before, Trump had once again voiced his controversial proposals to ban immigration from several parts of the world, listing countries by name, including the Philippines, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Iraq, Somalia and Morocco.
The Republican nominee called immigration from the so-called “terrorist nations” problematic because the immigrants wouldn’t be vetted by the government beforehand.
“You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time,” he said.
Following the San Bernardino attacks last December, he came under fire for proposing to temporarily prohibit all Muslims from entering the country.
“Hillary Clinton wants to have them come in by the hundreds of thousands — just remember,” Trump said in a press conference in Portland, Maine on Thursday, August 4. “This has nothing to do with politics, folks. This is a whole different level. This has to do with pure, raw stupidity. Okay?”
The string of violence from jihadist groups like Abu Sayyaf this year have underpinned speculation that the Philippines is next on the Islamic State’s (ISIS) radar.