Undocumented immigrant is not a criminal: Sen. Kamala Harris

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The Indian American Senator said Muslim ban will make America less safe.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D- Calif.) Courtesy of C-SPAN

US Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) minced no words in challenging President Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“Let me repeat that. The President’s immigration actions and Muslim ban will make America less safe,” she said.

Harris delivered her maiden speech on the Senate floor in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Daughter of an Indian immigrant, she said that there is an increase in the severity of the immigration raids across the country; and that the administration has violated the court orders. Harris said that such actions pose threat to the public safety.

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The former attorney general of California emphasized that all immigrants should not be labelled or treated as criminals.

“I have personally prosecuted everything from low-level offenses to homicides. I know what a crime looks like. I will tell you: an undocumented immigrant is not a criminal.” She said that those who commit crime must be prosecuted. However, she added, “But the truth is the vast majority of immigrants are hardworking people who deserve a pathway to citizenship.”

Harris said that there are good people on both sides of aisle. She said that the large majority of immigrants are hardworking people; and they deserve better treatment. “As a prosecutor, I can tell you, it is a serious mistake to conflate criminal justice policy with immigration policy as if they are the same thing. They are not,” she added.

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The 52-year-old told the Senate that the present increased raids would instill fear in immigrants.

“And here’s the truth, Mr. President. Imperfect though we may be, I believe we are a great country. And part of what makes us great are our democratic institutions that protect our fundamental ideals – freedom of religion and the rule of law, protection from discrimination based on national origin, freedom of the press, and a 200 year history as a nation built by immigrants,” Harris said.

Talking on the economic repercussions of such  “cruel” actions, Harris said: “Immigrants make up 10 percent of California’s workforce and contribute $130 billion to our state’s gross domestic product.”

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Speaking on the Muslim ban, Harris unequivocally said that this would isolate the Muslim American Community that could see ripple effects.

“This ban may be well have been hatched in the basement headquarters of ISIS. We handed them a tool of recruitment to use against us,” she said.

Harris concluded, “And I say we must measure up to our words and fight for our ideals because the critical hour is upon us.”