Issued on March 6, 2017
This executive order is the revised version of a controversial January 27, 2017 order, similarly placing a 90 day stay on the entry of nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria in order to thwart the entry of terrorists in the United States and thus ensure national security. Iraq is not included in the new act – it is stated that this is due to American efforts to thwart terrorist activity there, the state of friendship between the two countries, and recent Iraqi government efforts to enhance travel documentation and information sharing procedures. Other changes were made to the order to attempt to overcome the troubles it has faced in litigation, including a direct refutation to the label of the order as a ‘Muslim ban,’ explicitly exempting permanent residents and current visa holders, and removing language that offered preferential status to persecuted religious minorities from these targeted states. LEARN MORE
The claim that this new executive order is not motivated by religious discrimination does not ring true, making the new order no different from its unconstitutional, unfair, and ineffective predecessor. Given President Trump’s campaign promise of a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ which he has not distanced himself from as President so far (besides exclaiming “call it whatever you want. We’ll call it territories, okay?”), the order remains vulnerable to legal challenge. Discrimination based on religious belief goes against the founding ideal of the United States and would close the door on people fleeing human rights abuses or trying to start a new life like any other potential immigrant. It also continues to be unclear if the order would even be beneficial from a security perspective. The Associated Press obtained a document from the Department of Homeland Security that concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States, and that even if it was, the countries listed by President Trump’s order would not be atop of the list. LEARN MORE
Update: March 30, 2017
Soon after the release of the revised executive order, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the travel ban from being enforced, ruling that the order was based on ‘questionable evidence’ and was clearly designed to discriminate against Muslims. Legal action is being taken to block the ban in at least five other states. However on March 27, a Virginia judge denied a request to block the order, stating that Congress has granted the President sweeping powers over immigration, and denying that the order is discriminatory. If the Trump administration takes the case to the Supreme Court, these are arguments likely to be used in their defense. Thirteen states, including Texas, filed a brief to that Virginia appeals court supporting their decision.
- Pressure Your Local Representatives – NPR has compiled a database of the comments that each member of Congress has made about the original executive order. You may be able to hold them accountable to this statements face-to-face at a town hall – you can find listings for these at Town Hall Project. You can also dial 1-844-6-RESIST to be redirected to the office of your local member of Congress, where you can lodge your concerns over the phone.
- Resistance Manual – Crisis Resources – If you know someone who is facing immigration troubles, please share this compendium of legal resources and relevant nonprofit organizations with them.
This brief was compiled by Oliver Bjornsson. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.