That was quick.
With a stroke of his pen Obama agreed to allow 85,000 Syrian refugees into this country. With a stroke of his pen Trump cut that number to zero. Of course, more than 12,000 are probably already here.
Today refugees from the countries singled out by Trump in his executive order are already being held at airports on arrival from overseas and lawsuits have been filed.
Trump’s order suspends all refugees for 120 days and bars for 90 days the entry of any citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Yemen — even if they have valid visas. Trump said he intends to increase the vetting of certain foreigners and screen out potential “radical Islamic terrorists.”
When admissions are allowed to resume the order would “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality” — presumably Christians.
This has lawyers scrambling for precedents to cite to establish religious discrimination and question the constitutionality of the order.
The U.K.-based Guardian already has posted an article exploring the legal arguments that can be made and notes that the Supreme Court ruled Congress can make immigration rules that, if applied to citizens, would be unconstitutional.
In the 1890s, the newspaper relates, the high court upheld a ban on Chinese immigrants. In 1972, the court ruled the president could bar a Marxist from entry, but said the president needed reasons that were “facially legitimate and bona fide.”
This past June the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 and thus let stand a Texas court ruling that blocked an Obama executive order granting millions of illegal immigrants amnesty from deportation and access to work permits.
The order was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and would have allowed illegal immigrants if they had been in the country at least five years and had not committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors. It also would have expanded his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Trump at the time called Obama’s order “one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president.”
Now, we will see how his executive orders fare in court.