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“What’s at Stake Is More Than a Policy Debate”: Khizr Khan and Veterans Oscar Vasquez and Rep. Ruben Gallego Condemn Trump Immigration and Refugee Executive Orders

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A recording of today’s press call is available here.

On a press call today, Gold Star father Khizr Khan, Dreamer and Army veteran, Sergeant Oscar Vasquez, and Marine Corps veteran Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) shared their personal stories and reflections on why Trump’s radical policy vision is contrary to core American values and compromises, rather than strengthens, our safety and national security.

As Lorella Praeli, spokesperson for America’s Voice Education Fund and the moderator of today’s call stated in her introductory remarks, “What’s at stake is more than a policy debate and goes directly to fundamental questions about who we are as a country.”

A recording of today’s call is available here. See below for key quotes from the speakers:

Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Marine Corps veteran, said, “A lot my friends that died in Iraq are buried next to Mr. Khan’s son – Captain Khan. I would often go to Arlington and wonder the story behind his great son, a patriotic American. Just like many other Americans who never came home, my friends were all from different backgrounds. These are the families that best represent America, families like the Khan family. We have veterans who have served and sacrificed, and Trump will never understand those words. This is why you see Democrats in Congress fighting tooth and nail against the Trump agenda. We will not allow him to rip apart this country through his hate. We will say to our community, both immigrant and minority communities, we will fight these reckless policies. We will never stop fighting for an America worthy of families like Mr. Khan and Captain Khan’s.”

Khizr Khan, Gold Star Father, said, “Whenever I travel, I shake hands with people of all races, of all colors, of all backgrounds, that remain concerned about this haphazard, wrong, and anecdotal way of running and managing this great country and these serious issues. My concern is heightened by observing the previous week and executive order after executive order. These wide executive orders are nothing but intimidation tactics, aimed at dehumanizing our people, dehumanizing the U.S. and other people of the world. I stand with the majority of this country that reject this process of alienation and dehumanizing other human beings.”

Sergeant Oscar Vasquez, Dreamer and Army veteran, said, “When I was 12, I came to the United States with my mother from Mexico. I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University, but I couldn’t get a job or an internship — there was no such thing as DACA and limited opportunities for people without documentation. One of the best parts of my life was being able to serve my country. I served for three and a half years in the military with combat in Afghanistan. Now, as an American citizen, I work to provide STEM opportunities for Latino and underprivileged youth. I represent the kids who are eliminated from opportunities because of their status. Many of the children that I work with currently benefit from DACA. This past week has been scary for a lot of us, because we don’t know what is going to happen. So, I remain focused on these kids. They can provide something to this country.

Lorella Praeli, spokesperson for America’s Voice Education Fund and the moderator of today’s call, stated: “This week President Trump showed that he intends to rule with the same divisive extremism that he displayed during the campaign. The fantasy that he would move to the center, unite the country, and represent what the American people want is over. His intended refugee and Muslim ban will trample on American values and harm, not help, our national security. He intends to follow through on the offensive, wasteful, and unnecessary border wall. And perhaps most disturbingly, by executive order, he has created  a mass deportation force to terrorize our communities. He has criminalized almost all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, making them vulnerable to deportation. What’s at stake is more than a policy debate and goes directly to fundamental questions about who we are as a country.”