On January 27, 2017 President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769 otherwise known as the “Muslim Ban.” This ban halts all refugees entering the country from seven Muslim-majority countries which include: Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Iraq and Syria. In doing this, President Trump created one of the most contentious parts of his new policy on immigration. Since then the law has faced a number of legal challenges many of which are still pending. Most recently, the order has been upheld by a 5-4 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. The court has ruled that the travel restriction fell “squarely” within the president’s authority.
The Effects of the Muslim Ban
The ban has caused the number of refugees migrating to the US to virtually come to a standstill which, of course, was the intent of the order. Applicants are indefinitely stalled in the immigration process while they are going through “extreme-vetting” as named by the current administration. The problem is that even immigration officials are hard pressed to define exactly what criteria they are using to “screen” potential entrants. All-in-all, the process has caused a kind of human gridlock to an already complex system. Meanwhile, some Americans here have taken the cue from such policies as has been demonstrated by the rise in hate crimes against the affected minorities.
The Legal Arguments for and Against Executive Order 13769
From the first day it went into affect Executive Order 13769 has been the subject of controversy as opponents and proponents of the order have often clashed in court and in the court of public opinion. The most ardent opponent of the order – the American Civil Liberties Union – opposes the ban on the grounds that it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This law prohibits the government from preferring one religion over another. The President claims that he has the right to implement this policy under the Nationality Act of 1952. It states that the President can halt the entry of any aliens who would be detrimental to the interest of the United States.
Executive Order 13769 as it Stands Today
Back in June of 2018, the court upheld the ban by a margin of 5-4. The ACLU continues to challenge the constitutionality of the ban as do other groups around the country. From the start, the administration has sought to denigrate all Muslims which even President Bush did not do after 9/11. In the New Year the law is likely to face even more vigorous challenges despite a growing conservative court and a President who has no qualms about stoking anti-immigrant sentiments. As an immigration attorney in Van Nuys who fights for immigration rights in Los Angeles, I am naturally part of this fight. I will not relent in my efforts to protect and restore the rights of immigrants where they have been abridged or violated.