WRITTEN BY NEWSPAPER CLUB WRITER: Jessica Okpara
FEB. 12, 2017ーUS President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order to restrict the travel of residents of seven countries, including, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The travel ban has been dubbed the “Muslim ban” due to a similarity between the countriesー they are all Muslim-majority.
The executive order titled “Protection Of The Nation Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” was signed Friday, January 27, 2017. The order banned people from the seven listed countries from entering the United States for a period of 90 days. Other refugees were banned from entering the US for 120 days. The executive order also completely suspended the U.S. Syrian refugee program, banning all Syrian refugees from entering the country until further notice. Lastly, the cap total number of refugees allowed to enter the United States this year was lowered from 110,000 to 50,000.
Since President Trump signed the order Jan. 27, hundreds of travelers from the listed countries have been detained at airports without access to legal counsel. There are reports that those with green cards were turned away from US-bound flights and some being held after landing. Others reported being manipulated out of their green cards and being deported. Green card holders were detained by orders of the White House, but eventually, they were allowed in the country if, and only if, they passed “extra screening”.
The situation took a turn on February 3, a week after the executive order was made, when a Seattle federal judge issued a nationwide restraining order against the travel ban. The block on the order led the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the enforcement of the ban and put standard procedures back into effect.
A trial held days later to see whether or not the hold will be lifted. Thursday, February 9, the three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit unanimously rejected the argument to lift the suspension of the order. This ruling shows the judicial branch asserting its ability to check the president’s power. President Donald Trump immediately responded to this on Twitter by writing, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” and also saying, “we have a situation where the security of our country is at stake, and it’s a very, very serious situation, so we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court”.
Since the order was put in place, there were many questions if it was unconstitutional and legal. The New York Times deemed the ban illegal on the basis of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which bans discrimination against immigrants based on national origin. There is also evidence that Christians from the Middle East are being prioritized over citizens that practice Islam, which has been argued to violate the 1st amendment on religion freedom. It is also argued that the travel ban violates the 5th amendment that states “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury…”. Through all of this evidence, there still seems to be no evidence that proves that the countries listed pose a threat to the United States. According to the White House’s list of 78 major terrorist attacks against the West, most attackers were from France, the United States, and Belgium.
Trump’s association of the Islam religion and terrorism goes back to December 2015 when the president candidate suggested banning Muslims from traveling to the country and establishing the surveillance of mosques and a database to track Muslime in the U.S.. During the time, Donald Trump said, “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
There is also confusion over why the countries banned were chosen. The countries that the 9/11 terrorists were fromーSaudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and United Arab Emiratesーwere not on the list. It should also be noted that other countries in the Middle East that weren’t on the listーSaudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkeyーhave business ties with the Trump Organization.
The protests over the Muslim Ban can not go unnoticed. Thousands of people protested at major airports including the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport in Illinois. Hundreds of lawyers also assembled in airports nationwide to assist detainees. This continues the protest streak that has begun since Donald Trump took office.
No matter what political group you associate yourself with or your opinion of immigration policies, it can’t be argued that this will change the future of the U.S. immigration policy and foreign relations. It’s clear that the Trump administration will continue the legal struggle, so stay tuned for the rest of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days.
Jessica Okpara | Current Event Writer for STEM Chronicles