People gathered at JFK Airport in New York City to protest Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.
Summary: Trump’s immigration ban has resulted in huge controversy.
Reality star-turned-45th President of the United States Donald Trump knows how to make headlines. After over a week in office, he has enacted a series of controversial changes; and on Friday, one of his actions, an immigration order, resulted in protests at airports around the country. Supporters of his decision state that he is keeping our country safe from terrorists while critics have blasted him for discrimination and violating the constitution. So what exactly is going on?
THE EXECUTIVE ORDER
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order on immigration which bans travelers from seven countries–Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. According to a recent statement from the White House, these countries are “sources of terror,” and the travelers will be banned for 90 days.
Critics of the ban have called it a “Muslim Ban” because the travelers denied are primarily Muslim. While Trump’s administration claims that this order is about protection, critics have pointed out that the ban does not include known terror risks such as Saudi Arabia because Trump has conducted business with them.
Critics also have lambasted the broadness of the order, which has blocked people with visas and green cards from those seven countries from entering the United States. Many legal travelers were detained or deported at the airport on Friday, and this includes military personnel, a well-known Hollywood director, students, and scientists.
Additionally, Trump’s executive order halts the United States’ refugee program for 120 days.
“A MUSLIM BAN”
On social media, critics of the executive order have called it a “Muslim Ban,” and the media outcry has helped rally thousands to show up at local airports to protest the ban. The term “Muslim Ban” makes it sound as if the order denies Muslims from entering the country; but in actuality, it refers to barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries who are not legal permanent U.S. citizens.
President Trump has already released a statement that this ban has nothing to do with religion, but instead was an important tool to keep extremists such as ISIS supporters out of our country. The following is his statement:
“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. America has always been the land of the free and home of the brave. We will keep it free and keep it safe, as the media knows, but refuses to say. My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days. I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria. My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as President I will find ways to help all those who are suffering.”
THE HISTORY OF THE IMMIGRATION BAN
Donald Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, told TMZ that former president Barack Obama had actually started the “Muslim Ban.” She was most likely referring to Obama’s 2011 order that slowed the processing of Iraqi refugees. Critics of Trump’s ban, however, said that Obama’s actions slowed processing but did not deny their entry.
Another reason for public outcry was statements from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who confirmed that Trump did intend to target Muslim people. Giuliani spoke to Fox News and said that Trump came to him for advice on how to legally create a “Muslim Ban.”
“When he first announced it, he said ‘Muslim ban,’” Giuliani said. “He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”
During Giuliani’s term as mayor of New York City, he oversaw the metropolis during the 9/11 attacks, which were conducted by Islamic extremists. The former conservative mayor is known to be tough on crime, and he is famous for implementing “stop and frisk,” a move that greatly lowered the crime rate in the city but was denounced for violating the civil rights of minorities.
FEDERAL COURTS FIGHT BACK
The American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits to free Iraqi detainees at JFK International Airport; and on Saturday, Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of New York ruled in their favor, issuing a temporary restraining order that would also bar the deportation of 200 people in New York City. Judges in Virginia and Massachusetts issued similar rulings, and ACLU and other pro bono lawyers have been working around the clock to help others affected by Trump’s ban.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told Meet the Press on Sunday that green card holders will no longer be affected moving forward, but that they may still face tough screening at the border. While federal courts may have halted Trump’s executive order, he still legally has sweeping authority on immigration issues, especially regarding entry of certain people that could harm the country.
NPR reports that the ACLU and immigrant rights lawyers will continue to file lawsuits. To fight the ban, they may cite a 1965 law that prohibits immigration statutes that discriminate. NPR reports that lawyers plan to use Giuliani’s confirmation of the term “Muslim Ban” as well as a now deleted tweet from the son of national security adviser Michael Flynn to prove that Trump’s executive order targets the religious group.
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