WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“This is a profoundly dark day for our country.

“In 1939, when Jewish refugees aboard the ship St. Louis could look ashore and see the lights of Miami, they thought the United States would be their salvation. But the power of fear and cowardice prevailed, sending those poor souls back across the ocean, many to their deaths. That moment is a stain on our country's history, and one that ran contrary to America's best values and traditions.

“Today, fear and cowardice are winning again. President Trump is slamming the door on the world's most desperate refugees, whose eyes are gazing upon our shores today, seeking the promise of America that has illuminated the world for more than two centuries.  He's building a wall and banning a religion, actions that won't keep us any safer, but will send a message that if you aren't a certain color, or don't speak a certain language or worship a certain way, you don't have a place in America. He's turning America's back on children who made a dangerous journey to escape violence and poverty, telling the huddled masses to find refuge elsewhere.

“In our best moments, America has been synonymous with freedom, hope, justice, and opportunity. That's not the America the world sees today.

“When Ronald Reagan likened America to a shining city upon a hill, he envisioned a place ‘teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace.’ Our beacon shines dimmer today, and I fear we've lost our way. We need to get off this dangerous course and restore the values that make us who we are as a nation.”