President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order blocking the arrival of most travelers from six conflict-prone countries for 90 days, and freezing the inflow of refugees from any country for the next 120 days.
The new order shifts the task of stopping the refugees from officers at U.S. airports over to officials at U.S. embassies overseas, who have been told to stop preparing needed travel documents until Trump’s aides complete a national security review, according to documents released today by the White House.
The shift to overseas embassies may prevent judges from trying to block the new order, just as three California judges on Feb. 3 blocked part of Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on refugees. Under the Constitution, judges have even less authority to block administrative actions in overseas embassies than judges now claim to have over officers working for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The order blocks document processing for would-be refugees from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. A seventh country, Iraq, was dropped from the list when Iraqi officials promised to upgrade their security checks, the White House said.
The order also cuts the annual inflow of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000, and orders federal officials to determine the law allows local communities any say in where refugees are settled in the United States.
The new order cancels the prior refugee order. Officials also say the new order begins March 16, so giving time for people with valid visas to get into the United States.
According to an explanation released by the White House:
Per the Executive Order, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order are not eligible to enter the United States while the temporary suspension remains in effect. Thus any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order is not barred from entry …
Visas will not be revoked solely as a result of the Executive Order. The Department of State has broad authority under Section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to revoke visas…
Returning refugees and asylees, i.e., individuals who have already been granted asylum or refugee status in the United States, are explicitly excepted from this Executive Order. As such, they may continue to travel consistent with existing requirements….
The Executive Order is effective at 12:01 A.M., Eastern Standard Time, on March 16, 2017.
The new order also shows how the president has the full authority under the Constitution and the laws to curb the inflow of refugees, despite opposition from U.S-based Islamic groups, judges, progressives and Democratic party legislators. The presidential claim of legal authority is needed to push back against judges, such as the three California judges who declared Feb. 3 that U.S. businesses and individuals can get judges to grant visas to foreign individuals.
The Executive Order signed on March 6, 2017, allows for the proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals. The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet it has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm. In order to ensure that the U.S. Government can conduct a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the national security risks posed from our immigration system, the Executive Order imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the United States of nationals of certain designated countries—countries that were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks with respect to visa-free travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
The U.S. Government must ensure that those entering this country will not harm the American people after entering, and that they do not bear malicious intent toward the United States and its people. The Executive Order, together with the Presidential Memorandum, protects the United States from countries compromised by terrorism and ensures a more rigorous vetting process. This Executive Order ensures that we have a functional immigration system that safeguards our national security…
The Congress provided the President of the United States, in section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), with the authority to suspend the entry of any class of aliens the President deems detrimental to the national interest. This authority has been exercised repeatedly for decades, and has been a component of immigration law since the enactment of the original INA in 1952.
The text of the underlying law says;
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. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.
Pro-immigration groups complained about the new safety measures. “The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban,” said a statement from the ACLU. “Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people.”