Trump’s Immigration Ban: The Facts
Lily Mackay, Senior Media & Communications Editor
There is a lot of emotional rhetoric floating around regarding this immigration ban: some extolling the virtues of Trump keeping to his campaign promises, and some bemoaning the fact that we have closed off our borders to those in need. What actually happened and what does it actually mean for our place in the world?
First of all, this is not a Muslim ban. This executive order is surprisingly much more mild than his campaign promise of registries and a ban of all refugees. This instead, is an arguably unwise use of executive power to further what could otherwise be viewed as a worthy cause: immigration reform. If we can agree on nothing else, we can all agree that something needs to change in how our immigration policies stand today. They are messy and ineffective, and could be better streamlined to benefit those seeking asylum without endangering citizens.
There are two sides to this executive coin:
If we want to make any real immigration reform and try to avoid accept periodic attacks, something along the lines of this order is required. Separating the actual facts of the ban from the fact that it was an executive order, the halt that Trump has ordered is not that radical. In fact, while people are enormously upset about the fact that the cap for refugees entering the US is down to 50,000 (Obama raised the number to 70,000, although even at his highest, he barely let in more than 50,000 himself. See chart below.)
There are several issues with this order:
- First, the executive order itself is a long-debated constitutional “gray area,” and jump starting a process as important and as controversial as this one, this may have not been the wisest step by the Trump administration. However, it remains to be seen how the rest of the process will play out. Until then, we as the public should endure as vigilant and unbiased citizens, so as to hold the administration as accountable as possible.
- Executive orders (as stated earlier) remain, as they always were, a constitutional gray area that are the subject of much debate. The president acts with the most authority when he has the "express or implied" consent of Congress.
- The president has uncertain authority in situations where Congress has not imposed its authority -- either by inaction or indifference -- and the president takes advantage of this "zone of twilight" to make an executive decision.
- The president acts with the least authority when he issues an executive order that is "incompatible" with the expressed or implied will of Congress. Such an act, wrote Justice Jackson, threatens the "equilibrium established by our Constitutional system" [source: Contrubis]
- Secondly, while this ban DOES NOT APPLY to green card members, and nowhere in the order are those who hold green cards mentioned, this ban DOES need to be monitored closely to ensure that no mismanagement or overzealousness in keeping proven allies or interpreters out. See here the story of the Iraqi interpreter to the US Army being detained at an airport (and pray that those stories do not continue.)
Other important tidbits to know about this order:
- The freakout over Syrian refugee ban is misplaced. While seeming to be a dramatic change, the halt on acceptance of Syrian refugees is actually a very similar policy to the Obama administration. From 2011-2014, we accepted: 29, 31, 26, and 105 Syrian refugees respectively. During the Syrian Civil War, ISIS rose significantly, and terrorists as well as refugees surged into Europe. The Obama administration stopped much of the refugee influx into the US, only changing that policy right at the close of his presidency
- The executive order includes an order to remain transparent and will release publicly every 180 days:
- Information regarding the number of “foreign national” individuals charged, removed, or found guilty of terrorism-related offenses or with terror organization ties
- Information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the US who have been radicalized after entry or have been proven to have ties to terror-related organizations
- Information about the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women in the United States (including “honor killings”)
- Any other information relevant to public safety as “determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General”
In case you need your memory refreshed on the terrorist attacks that have happened in our country since 9/11, here is an interactive timeline courtesy of The Daily Signal.
According to Mother Jones, a Brooklyn federal judge has issued a stay against the executive order. The ACLU brought a lawsuit that would allow for current visa holders to be exempt from temporary immigration halt.
Along with the election and the aftermath, there seems to be a very emotional response to this executive order. Not surprising, as this was a sweeping executive order, which definitely gives off the air of being very dramatic. While our confidence in the administration and leadership in this country is indubitably important, we cannot allow our feelings to override the facts of a situation. As always, we proceed with caution and we will keep you updated of the situation as it continues to unfold.
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