Understanding President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

President Trump completed his first full week in office with another Executive Order. The American Immigration Council reported that order was the Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, halts all refugee admissions for at least four months and bans entry into the United States for nationals of at least seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days or more.

While the order does not explicitly ban Muslims, in practice the new restrictions will do just that for many. The order prohibits immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (with the explicit possibility that other countries may be added) from entering the United States for at least 90 days, declaring their entry to be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

Only extremely narrow exceptions are permitted. The visa ban will be revisited after a review of whether these and other countries comply with U.S. demands to provide information about their nationals that the order says is needed to adjudicate their nationals’ visas and immigration benefits.

The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and the United States will stop admitting Syrian refugees indefinitely. The four-month period is supposed to be used to review the refugee program and determine what additional screening processes are needed. If and when the United States begins accepting refugees again in Fiscal Year 2017, no more than 50,000 total will be admitted, a significant reduction from the previous cap of 110,000.  As of January 20, 2017, nearly 30,000 refugees had already been admitted this fiscal year.

2 Iraqis file lawsuit after being detained in NY due to travel ban

CNN’s breaking news provided more details from the lawyers for two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been granted visas to enter the United States have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and the US government after they were detained when they arrived in New York Friday.

The lawsuit could represent the first legal challenge to Trump’s controversial executive order, which indefinitely suspends admissions for Syrian refugees and limits the flow of other refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called “extreme vetting” of immigrants.
Trump’s order also bars Iraqi citizens, as well as people from six other Muslim-majority nations, from entering the US for 90 days, and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” members of Trump’s Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.
“Because the executive order is unlawful as applied to petitioners, their continued detention based solely on the executive order violates their Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights,” the lawyers argue in court papers.

Trump’s Immigration Ban Excludes Countries With Business Ties

President Trump’s proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals. Properties include golf courses in the United Arab Emirates and two luxury towers operating in Turkey.

See Trump’s full conflicts of interest.

President Trump’s First Executive Orders on Immigration

On January 25, President Trump signed a pair of immigration-related executive orders, one dealing with border security and the other with immigration enforcement in the interior of the country. The order on border security has received the most public attention—particularly the “great wall” that Trump is so anxious to build. But it is the other order that presents the greatest danger to unauthorized immigrants.

The order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, effectively makes all unauthorized immigrant in the United States an “enforcement priority,” regardless of whether they entered the country without inspection or overstayed a visa, and irrespective of whether or not they have a criminal record. And the order ramps up efforts to find and remove unauthorized immigrants from the country by expanding the ranks of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and transforming more local police into immigration agents.

This order is flawed at a number of levels. To begin with it is based on a false premise; that immigrants pose some kind of threat to native-born Americans. The order actually says:

“Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety.”

In reality, an enormous amount of evidence has accumulated over the past century demonstrating that high rates of immigration are associated with lower crime rates, and immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term.

A second major flaw in this order is that it treats unauthorized immigration as if it were exclusively a law-enforcement issue and nothing more. It calls for 10,000 new ICE agents; agreements between the federal government and local police that would enable the police to act as immigration agents, and consider withholding federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” in which police don’t ask people about their immigration status so as to maintain trust with the communities they serve. This fails to recognize that unauthorized immigration is a symptom of a larger problem: an immigration system in which avenues for legal immigration are out of sync with the economic and social forces which drive immigration.

A third key problem with this order is that it fails to establish any priorities for determining which immigrants to detain and deport first. The order states that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should prioritize the removal of any and all “aliens” who have been convicted of a crime, charged with a crime, or committed an act which could be construed as a chargeable crime—not to mention anyone who has crossed the border without permission or overstayed a visa. These priorities are defined so expansively as to be meaningless. Real enforcement priorities would zero in on violent criminals first—not unauthorized immigrants driving in a car with a broken tail light.

In the final analysis, this executive order is little more than a crass form of immigrant-bashing. Unauthorized immigrants are stereotyped as criminals and treated as such. No consideration is given to the financial costs of new enforcement measures, the social costs of tearing apart U.S. families and communities in order to deport non-violent individuals, and the undermining of community policing by turning police into immigration agents. No matter how you look at it, this order is a disaster.

Why Trump can’t simply build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border with an executive order

While Trump can start the wall by shifting around existing federal funds, he will need Congress to appropriate the $20 billion — and perhaps significantly more — required to complete the massive structure, the experts and former officials said.

“How is he going to fund it? You need money!” Rand Beers, a former acting Department of Homeland Security secretary in the Obama administration, said Wednesday. “He’s got to have the money. And you can’t reprogram all that money without congressional authorization.”

The Trump administration will have to contend with private ranchers, farmers and other property owners with land along the border. Just one-third of the border is made up of federal and tribal lands, according to a 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office, with private and state-owned lands making up the rest.

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