Executive order shuts door on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries
By Brady coyle
After his inauguration, President Donald Trump wasted little time to surround himself in controversy once more.
On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which stopped the United States intake of refugees. It is also temporarily banning individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to enter the country. These are seven Muslim majority countries.
“This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” said President Trump, in a statement on Facebook. “There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”
The executive order also included green card holders – legal permanent residents. This meant many refugees who have been legally settled in the U.S. for a substantial period of time, cannot leave the country, for fear of being denied re-entry.
The president’s decision to implement a travel ban led to worldwide anti-Trump protests, most of them taking place at international airports. In the United States, the biggest protests were held at JFK (New York), San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and Dallas.
The travel ban created a global logistical nightmare, as there were hundreds of people in transit to the U.S. when it was introduced, causing travellers to be detained once they arrived at U.S. customs. Many of the individuals and families that were detained were under threat of being deported back to the countries of which they were citizens.
That threat was nullified, for now, on the night of Friday, February 3, when federal judge James L. Robart halted Trump’s banned on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
On January 30, the state of Washington filed a civil action suit against President Trump and the White House, asking for a halt on the President’s executive order, in regards to immigration. On February 1, the state of Minnesota was added as a plaintiff in the case.
“What this lawsuit is about is that [the executive order is] unconstitutional,” said Bob Ferguson, the Attorney General for the state of Washington. “It violates the rule of law and I will not put up with it.”
It only took two days for Judge Robart to make a decision. On February 3, he officially put a stay on the president’s executive order.
“The court concludes that the circumstances brought before it today are such that it must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government,” wrote Judge Robart in his ruling.
On February 4, the United States filed an emergency motion seeking to reinstate the executive order, arguing that the judicial branch of the government cannot review or overturn immigration actions made by the President.
A three-judge panel of the ninth circuit court unanimously denied the United States appeal to reinstate the travel ban on February 9. To no one’s surprise, the president took to social media to lash out about Judge Robart’s decision.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned,” tweeted Trump, one day after Judge Robart’s decision.
This was yet another example of the president attacking an individual or group that did not agree with him. During Trump’s presidential campaign, and his first three weeks in office, he has spent a substantial amount of time taking to Twitter to criticize the media, political opponents and, most recently, fashion retailers.
The president’s criticisms of the judicial branch of government has been particularly concerning, as he has tweeted that the fault of any future terrorist attacks that occur within the U.S. be placed on Judge Robart and the court system.
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril,” tweeted Trump. “If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
Trump’s critical comments about the judicial branch of government have raised concerns across the country, as the president, as he does with the media, is attacking a group that is simply disagreeing with him.
“The president’s hostility toward the rule of law is not just embarrassing, it is dangerous. He seems intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis,” Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said in a statement. “And now he is attempting to bully and disparage yet another federal judge — this one appointed by a Republican president and confirmed by a Republican Senate — for having the audacity to do his job and apply the rule of the law.”
Even Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, has said that the president’s comments about the United States judiciary are both “disheartening” and “demoralizing,” in a conversation with Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal.
While Judge Gorsuch has spoken privately of the dangers of Trump’s comments about the judicial branch of the government, he is refusing to do so publicly. This is leading some to question whether or not the president’s nominee will be loyal to Trump or to the constitution and the country.
“I said to him if a litigant before your court — and the President of the United States is in fact a litigant right now in the immigration ban cases — said what President Trump said, you would hold him in contempt of court,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who noted that Gorsuch had no comment in response to his remarks.
The legal issue of the President’s executive order is expected to take quite some time to resolve and to eventually make its way to the Supreme Court for an official decision. In the meantime, green card holders and any refugees who had left their countries prior to the executive order being signed are going through the standard vetting processes that were occurring during the Obama administration.
As Trump and his White House plans to take his executive order to the highest court, if need be, expect tensions to remain high between Trump supporters and adversaries.