President Donald Trump's executive order barring immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries is "absolutely a Muslim ban," according to Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
"Religious tolerance is a core American value," Ellison, who became the first Muslim member of Congress in 2007, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday, Politico reported. "Donald Trump has broke that core American value, and that is the heart of this problem."
"He sent it to some lawyers and some folks to try to language it up so it could pass muster, but the intent here is very clear, it is a Muslim ban," he said, referring to Trump's campaign call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.. "This is a Muslim ban, and we should focus on that because that's new. Our country doesn't do that."
Ellison appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, where he insisted the order is a ban against Muslims.
"We've never had a religious-based ban before," Ellison told CBS. "And they can't deny that this is a Muslim ban – it is a Muslim ban," he said. "On the campaign trail, he said he wanted a Muslim ban, he said on national television there would be other religious groups who receive priority – it is a religiously based ban."
He later added: "The fact is that terrorism, a horrible scourge on the planet, comes from all kinds of places, some where the majority of the population is Muslim, some not. And it even comes from within our country – and the fact is that we cannot make a religious-based distinction."
Ellison, while campaigning in Houston to chair the Democratic National Committee, told The Washington Post he has been working with Muslim legal groups to help refugees stuck at the border.
"I've heard from people who were on the way to Minnesota and were blocked," he said. "They're stopping people at the border right now. They're breaking up families now. This is an absolute affront to America as a welcoming nation that gives refuge to suffering people. It is basically sending a positive signal to people who hate this country, because now ISIS gets to say — 'See? They don't want you.' They get to whip up hate and anti-American sentiment."
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