A federal judge handed down an emergency stay last weekend that places a temporary block on US border officials turning away valid visa holders. In doing so, Judge Ann Donnelly not only showed a basic misunderstanding of the law she is supposed to uphold, but also spit in the face of President Donald Trump’s legal authority as President.
The first thing important to note is what a visa is, and what it is not. According to the US State Department, a visa is not a ‘get in the US card,’ contrary to what many seem to believe.
Having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port of entry, airport or land border crossing, and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector to enter the United States.
The visa only gives someone the ability to present themselves at the port of entry and request permission to enter. Judge Donnelly’s stay order blocks the government from sending anyone home if they have a valid visa from the seven countries listed in President Trump’s executive order, effectively turning their visa into the very thing that the State Department clearly states it is not. A visa is merely a determination of eligibility to seek entry – not a promise that the person will be allowed in. The difference is distinct and critical to understanding the issue. Judge Donnelly’s order is unlawful by default.
The next logical question, then, is whether the judge is incompetent or knowingly subverting the law. By issuing this order, Judge Donnelly has offered President Trump a lose-lose scenario.
His choices, as presented by this federal judge, are as follows:
- Ignore the judge’s order. Ignoring the order and pressing on creates a battle between the Executive Branch and the Judiciary and sets a whole other set of circumstances into motion – none of which are optimal. President Trump, however, does have the authority to do so.
- Appeal the judge’s decision. By going to the appellate court, President Trump would be offering legitimacy to Judge Donnelly’s unlawful order and setting a precedent for future judicial acts to follow the same line of thinking.
While it may seem like President Trump is backed into a corner, there is a third option, and President Trump has already shown an ability to work around the either-or scenarios in which the Left attempts to place him. On Monday night, Trump fired Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch’s previous second-in-command, after Yates refused to defend the travel ban in court, again sidestepping the two-option trap.
Taking his “door number three” thinking to the extreme, President Trump could request that Congress strip the federal courts of any authority related to immigration. Article III of the Constitution gives Congress the power to limit the jurisdiction of all federal courts; if Congress chose to exercise this power, it could not only remove the court’s assumed power on immigration issues, but would effectively render Judge Donnelly’s order moot.
The establishment media can obviously not be trusted to report on any of this honestly. By trotting out every possible story it can find about ‘innocent’ people subjected to the provisions of the order, the media ensures that the narrative remains “Trump is a racist bigot who hates Muslims and is ripping apart innocent families for no reason other than his hatred.” That is not factually true, but in the counterinsurgency war against Trump, truth is unnecessary.