Immigration Ban Faces Challenges in Court


Katie Barnes

At the end of January, President Trump signed into action an executive order that suspends the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely as well as creates a 90-day travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries. These countries are Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Syria. Trump claims that this ban is not unfairly targeting Muslims; rather, it is effectively fighting terrorism, defending his executive order by comparing it to a policy decision made by Barack Obama in 2011 which stopped Iraqi refugees from entering the country for six months. Trump’s vows to eliminate ISIS and combat radical Islamic terrorism in the United States were some of the key promises of his campaign. He also added in a statement to the Christian Broadcast Network that this action and prioritization of Christians was reversing policies of previous administrations that prioritized Muslim refugees and immigrants over Christian ones, despite the fact that these claims are completely unfounded. In the first weekend that the ban was in place, 392 people were denied boarding onto flights into the United States, and the State Department reports that approximately 60,000 Visas issued in 2016 will be affected by this new policy.
Naturally, this ban has been facing a large amount of opposition from pro-immigration groups and activists all over the country. One such protest in California was even able to shut down San Francisco International Airport, and another in New York saw taxi drivers stopping services to JFK Airport. Many people cited the fact that visa holders, legal residents of the United States, and green card holders have all been denied access to the country as factors that inspired their protests. In response to this, the White House has reversed their policy on green card holders and have allowed them to enter the country. As of February, over 1,600 green card holders have been allowed to enter the United States from the seven countries outlined in the ban. Major corporations such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Goldman Sachs have also expressed their views against the executive order and contributed to the pressure that caused the White House to alter its policy.
As a result of these protests, many federal lawsuits have been brought up from civil rights groups questioning the constitutionality of the ban. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth circuit ruled unanimously against the ban on Friday, urging the White House to lift the ban immediately and freezing enforcement of the order. Similar lawsuits are currently taking place in New York, Virginia, and Washington, where judges have ordered the government to release the names of those who have been detained and vetted, and the legal residents and green card holders who have been banned. In Massachusetts, a judge even ordered a halt on deportations and a release of all detained travelers at Boston’s Logan Airport.
Trump responded to these rulings by promising to fight against them in court, and is reportedly beginning the appeals process. According to the President’s lawyers, he will seek an “en banc” hearing, where 11 of the court’s judges will vote on whether the decision should be upheld. He also added that he will blame the court system for any terror attacks in the future. This case will likely make it all the way to the Supreme Court, with lawyers arguing that the ban goes against the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process of law.