I’m going to start with a question. What words come to mind when you think of Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban refugees? If you’ve been following the establishment media, these words words may come to mind: Unconstitutional. Xenophobic. Un-American. Cruel. Illegal. All of these words (and more) have been used to condemn the Trump administration’s executive order.
In an effort to stop the ban, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit last week. In the complaint, Ferguson claimed that the order is “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”
Last Friday night, Federal Judge James Robart ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, and temporarily halted the implementation of the Trump administration’s executive order. Robart said that the states “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order.”
After Robart’s ruling, the Department of Homeland Security ceased enforcement of the travel ban. The Department announced that it will continue its inspections of travelers in the same manner as it did before the executive order.
The Trump administration responded quickly. They filed an emergency request with the U.S. Federal Appeals Court in an effort to reinstate the executive order. However, the Appeals Court denied the request. This means that the suspension of the ban will remain in place until the case is fully litigated.
The states argue that the ban is unconstitutional while the Justice Department asserts that Judge Robart has overstepped in his ruling. The Justice Department has also stated that the authority to decide who can enter the United States lies with the President.
Both sides of the dispute have filed briefs for a review of Judge Robart’s suspension. If the appeals court upholds Robart’s ruling, then it is expected that the Trump administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.
So, are they correct? Is the Trump administration’s executive order illegal?
The Constitution gives the Executive Branch the authority to determine how the United States will deal with foreign nations. After the adoption of the constitution, Thomas Jefferson wrote,
“The transaction of business with foreign nations is Executive altogether. It belongs then to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specifically submitted to the Senate. Exceptions are to be construed strictly.”
According to federal immigration law, the President is empowered to deny entry into the United States to any type of immigrants that could harm the interests of the United States. Section 1182(f) states:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate”
The law is clear. The President is allowed to prevent any class of immigrants from entering the country if he determines that they represent a potential threat. In a piece in National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy writes, “Section 1182(f) plainly and sweepingly authorizes the president to issue temporary bans on the entry of classes of aliens for national-security purposes.”
So, there you have it. The Trump administration’s executive order is not illegal. The law clearly states that the President has the authority to restrict immigrants from any nation if he believes that there is a credible threat to our nation’s security.
Many of the protesters and critics have denounced the executive order because they believe it is wrong to deny entry to refugees who are fleeing violence. Some of this is understandable, however, the first priority of any President is to protect the citizens of the United States. It is his duty as the chief executive.
The plight of the Syrians is real. Most of the refugees are good people who want to escape a horrible situation. However, the media is leading us to believe that if we don’t take in these refugees, they will all be killed.
This isn’t necessarily true.
There are other nations who will allow them entry. And the Trump administration has already expressed its commitment to fund the building of safe zones for the refugees.
Perhaps the ban was not implemented effectively, but it was not illegal. President Trump worked within the bounds of the law. In the end, the safety of American citizens is the top concern for the President of the United States. We will soon see if the Federal Appeals Court agrees.
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