On Wednesday, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will institute a temporary ban on refugees and immigrants entering the United States from the following countries:
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about a “big day” in regards to national security and it appears that this ban is part of his plans. The ban is expected to be in place for several months but it will have an exemption for religious minorities who are fleeing persecution.
‘Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!’
Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Stephen Legomsky, who served as the chief counsel for the Obama administration’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that the executive order was within Trump’s constitutional authority even if it was a “terrible idea.”
‘From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights. But from a policy standpoint, it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees.’
During the campaign, Trump said that he would impose a ban on all Muslim immigrants entering the United States. However, perhaps in part due to the public outcry, Trump has since modified his proposal to target immigrants from countries that he believes are a threat to national security.
In order to institute the ban, Trump’s order will likely command the State Department to stop issue visas to immigrants from those countries. He could also order U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prevent current visa-holders from entering the U.S. if they are from those countries.
While such restrictions are within the president’s power, he could face legal challenges if all the countries on his list are majority-Muslim nations. Hiroshi Motomura, an immigration expert at UCLA, said that Trump’s rhetoric made it clear that he was targeting members of a specific religion which is unconstitutional.
‘His comments during the campaign and a number of people on his team focused very much on religion as the target.’
Trump’s order also threatens to undo an immigration agreement signed with Austrailia last year. Under the terms of the agreement that the Obama administration signed, the U.S. agreed to help resettle a number of refugees currently living in Papua New Guinea. If Trump backs out of that deal then they will likely have to be settled in Australia though the Australian government has not commented on Trump’s plan.
Featured image via Getty Images.