Courts Reject Trump’s Travel Ban

By Reuben S. Seguritan

February 8, 2017

Many people around the world have voiced their opposition to the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” by President Trump.

The Executive Order bans nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. In addition, all refugees are banned for 120 days. However, Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely. The ban extends to foreign nationals with visas who are already in the United States and wish to travel to one of the 7 named countries. They cannot re-enter the United States if it is within the 90 days or 120 days period, even if they have valid student or work visas. Even foreign nationals with immigrant visas cannot enter the United States if they are from the 7 stated countries. This includes Iraqis who worked for the United States government as translators and were issued special immigrant visas. The only exception are citizens of the 7 countries who also have Canadian citizenship. These dual Canadian citizens can enter the United States.

Different protests were held in airports and parks in major cities across the United States to denounce the ban on refugees and immigrants of the 7 countries. The protests were held in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix. Some lawyers across the country worked pro bono to help the detained foreign nationals at the airports.

Public officials have expressed their dissent to the Executive Order. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that his office would offer legal help to those detained at airports in New York. Senator John McCain of Arizona said that the order was not properly vetted and that it could be seen as the United States turning its back on Muslims who had risked their lives to serve as interpreters for the country’s military and diplomats. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio added that, “In my view, we ought to all take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense for our national security and again for this notion that America has always been a welcoming home for refugees and immigrants.” On January 31, 2017, President Trump fired the acting Attorney General Sally Yates for publicly refusing to defend the Executive Order.

States such as Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington have filed lawsuits to block the implementation of the Executive Order.

On January 28, 2017, Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to stop the deportations nationwide after determining that the risk of injury to those detained by being returned to their home countries necessitated the decision. On the same day, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order to block the removal of any green card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.

On February 3, 2017, Federal Judge James Robart in Washington state ordered the nationwide suspension of the Executive Order. On February 4, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was suspending the ban on nationals from the 7 named countries from entering the United States. Furthermore, the visas that were electronically cancelled due to the Executive Order would be reinstated. However, the nationals from the 7 countries whose visas were physically stamped cancelled or taken away would have to reapply for new visas.

In response, President Trump lashed out on his personal twitter account stating “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” In another tweet he said, “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”.

On February 5, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Trump administration’s petition to resume the implementation of the Executive Order. Hence, Judge Robart’s February 3, 2017 order suspending the Executive Order nationwide remains as the status quo.

This Executive Order of President Trump has made a lot of people oppose him. Even some of his allies in the Republican party have come forward to speak against the ban on refugees and immigrants. President Trump has been in office for less than a month but it looks like he will have a lot of protests and dissent to deal with throughout his presidency.