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Sen. Ben Cardin urging people to stay strong and speak out against Trump's immigration crackdown

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 18:22:28-05

Since October, resettlement agencies have helped about 37,000 refugees start new lives in the United States, with hundreds of those people living and working in Maryland.

They're children without parents, families ripped apart by violence, and the elderly seeking safety. These are the faces of the refugees coming to our country for help.

"That women is not a terrorist, she's fleeing the terrorists, she's afraid of the same people that we here are concerned about," said Bill O’Keefe, vice president of governmental relations and advocacy with Catholic Relief Services.

Catholic Relief Services was joined by Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service Monday to push back on President Trump’s executive order cracking down on immigration.

"President Trump's actions send an ominous message to the world, that America no longer cares about freedom, democracy and justice," Nina Zelic, director for Refugee Services at Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service said.

The United States already has the world's most thorough vetting process for its refugee program. It takes up to two years for people to be cleared to enter our country.           

RELATED: Refugee resettlement groups against President Trump's immigration crackdown

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin spoke says American citizens need to educate themselves on how the process works, and then get engaged.

"This is a battle that we need to wage, this is America’s strength, diversity is America’s strength, our values are our strength," he said.

See also: US will admit 872 refugees into the country despite immigration ban

"Catholic Relief Services and all of us here recognize the need to responsible security measures, but those measures cannot come on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world," said O’Keefe.           

Trump has maintained the travel and refugee ban is for safety, but many believe it is a step in the wrong direction.

"It puts Americans at risk, it puts Americans at risk when they travel abroad, they're more likely to be a target, it puts America’s homeland at risk because of the recruitment and self-radicalization of terrorists," Cardin said.

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