Refugee Ban.....

Refugee Ban Causes Worldwide Furor

A federal judge in New York blocked deportations nationwide late Saturday of those detained on entry to the United States after an executive order from President Trump targeted citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn granted a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the deportations after determining that the risk of injury to those detained by being returned to their home countries necessitated the decision.

Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York, another came in Alexandria when U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a temporary restraining order to block for seven days the removal of any green-card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport. Brinkema’s action also ordered that lawyers have access to those held there because of the ban.

Several hours after the judicial rulings, the Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to implement Trump’s executive order. In a statement released early Sunday, the agency said “less than one percent” of international air travelers arriving Saturday in the U.S. were “inconvenienced” by the executive order.

“President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the statement said. “No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.”

While the statement said the administration “will comply with judicial orders,” the fate of travelers detained at U.S. airports was not immediately clear.

Trump’s order reverberated across the world Saturday, making it increasingly clear that the measure he had promised during his presidential campaign was casting a wider net than even his opponents had feared.

Confusion and concern among immigrant advocates mounted throughout the day as travelers from the Middle East were detained at U.S. airports or sent home. A lawsuit filed on behalf of two Iraqi men challenged Trump’s executive action, which was signed Friday and initially cast as applying to refugees and migrants.

But as the day progressed, administration officials confirmed that the sweeping order also targeted U.S. legal residents from the named countries — green-card holders — who were abroad when it was signed. Also subject to being barred entry into the United States are dual nationals, or people born in one of the seven countries who hold passports even from U.S. allies, such as the United Kingdom.

The virtually unprecedented measures triggered harsh reactions from not only Democrats and others who typically advocate for immigrants but also key sectors of the U.S. business community. Leading technology companies recalled scores of overseas employees and sharply criticized the president. Legal experts forecast a wave of litigation over the order, calling it unconstitutional. Lawyers and advocates for immigrants are advising them to seek asylum in Canada.

Yet Trump, who centered his campaign in part on his vow to crack down on illegal immigrants and impose what became known as his “Muslim ban,’’ was unbowed. As White House officials insisted that the measure strengthens national security, the president stood squarely behind it.

“It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It’s working out very nicely, and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”

In New York, Donnelly seemed to have little patience for the government’s arguments, which focused heavily on the fact that the two defendants named in the lawsuit had already been released.

Donnelly noted that those detained were suffering mostly from the bad fortune of traveling while the ban went into effect. “Our own government presumably approved their entry to the country,” she said at one point, noting that, had it been two days prior, those detained would have been granted admission without question.

During the hearing, ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt informed the court that he had received word of a deportation to Syria, scheduled within the hour. That prompted Donnelly to ask if the government could assure that the person would not suffer irreparable harm. Receiving no such assurance, she granted the stay to the broad group included in the ACLU’s request.

A senior Department of Homeland Security official had no comment about the rulings late Saturday and said the department was consulting with its lawyers.

The official said enforcement of the president’s order on Saturday had created minimal disruption, given that only a small number of the several hundred thousand travelers arriving at U.S. airports daily had been affected.

Nationwide, he said, 109 people had been denied entry into the United States. All had been in transit when Trump signed the order, and some had already departed the United States on flights by late Saturday while others were still being detained awaiting flights. Also, 173 people had not been allowed to board U.S.-bound planes at foreign airports.

The official said that officers doing case-by-case reviews had granted 81 waivers so far to green-card holders.

DHS began implementing the president’s order immediately after he signed it, according to the official. He declined to say whether the department had an operational plan ready at that time.

In New York, when news of the decision to block the deportations reached the crowd outside the courthouse, a roar of approval went up. For some time after, hundreds of people chanted and danced along with a drum circle. “Get up! Get down! New York is an immigrant town,” the crowd said. The diverse group of mostly young people continued to grow despite the cold weather. “No hate! No bigotry! No Muslim registry.”

Jonah Baum, 11, was at the protest with his mother, Terri Gerstein, 48. Asked why he thought it was important to come, Baum said, “It's so bad what he's been doing to this country. I felt like I needed to do something about it.” Baum's grandfather was a Jewish refugee from Germany.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted late Saturday, “I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are.”

Though several congressional Republicans denounced the order, the majority remained silent, and a few voiced crucial support — including, most prominently, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who had rejected Trump’s anti-Muslim proposals during the campaign. “This is not a religious test, and it is not a ban on people of any religion,’’ Ryan said Saturday. “This order does not affect the vast majority of Muslims in the world.”

The president’s order, signed Friday, suspends admission to the United States of all refugees for 120 days and bars for 90 days the entry of any citizen from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. That list excludes several majority-Muslim nations — notably Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia — where the Trump Organization, now run by the president’s adult sons, is active and which in some cases have also faced troublesome issues with terrorism.

According to the text of the order, the restriction applies to countries that have already been excluded from programs allowing people to travel to the United States without a visa because of terrorism concerns. Hewing closely to nations already named as terrorism concerns elsewhere in law might have allowed the White House to avoid angering powerful and wealthy majority-Muslim allies, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Amid widespread confusion on Saturday about how the order will be enforced, some administration officials acknowledged that its rollout had been chaotic. Officials tried to reassure travelers and their families, pointing out that green-card holders in the United States will not be affected and noting that the DHS is allowed to grant waivers to those individuals and others deemed to not pose a security threat. It can take years for someone to become a green-card holder, or lawful permanent resident authorized to permanently live and work in the country.

“If you’ve been living in the United States for 15 years and you own a business and your family is here, will you be granted a waiver? I’m assuming yes, but we are working that out,’’ said one official, who could not be more specific because details remained so cloudy. A senior White House official later said that waivers will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and that green-card holders in the United States will have to meet with a consular officer before leaving the country.

But officials made clear that the federal officers detaining refugees and migrants with valid U.S. visas and restricting them from entering the country were following orders handed down by top DHS officials, at the White House’s behest.

The order drew outrage from a range of activist and advocates for Muslims, Arabs and immigrants. More than 4,000 academics from universities nationwide signed a statement of opposition and voiced concern the ban would become permanent. They described it as discriminatory and “inhumane, ineffective and un-American.”

The executive action has caused “complete chaos” and torn apart families, said Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

At Dulles, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) addressed more than 100 people protesting Trump’s order. He said: “I remind everybody we are a land of immigrants … Discriminatory tactics breed hatred.’’

In New York, lawyers for two Iraqi men detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport — one of whom served the U.S. military mission in Iraq — filed a federal lawsuit challenging the order as unconstitutional.

One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was released Saturday afternoon without explanation from federal officials. “This is the humanity, this is the soul of America,’’ he told reporters. “This is what pushed me to move, to leave my country and come here … America is the land of freedom — the land of freedom, the land of the right.’’

Other advocates promised further legal challenges. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) denounced the order and said it would file a lawsuit challenging it as unconstitutional.

In a conference call with reporters, immigration lawyers and advocates said Trump’s order violated the Constitution, along with U.S. and international laws that guarantee migrants the right to apply for asylum at the border and the Immigration and Nationality Act, which forbids discrimination in the issuance of visas based on race, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.

But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower immigration levels, praised Trump.

“It’s a prudent measure,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s not the Statue of Liberty crying. The reaction has been hyperbolic.”

At Dulles, at 10:30 p.m., cheers erupted as a couple emerged from the gray doors blocking the Customs and Border Protection screening area. “Go see the lawyers!” about 150 protesters chanted, directing them toward a throng of volunteer lawyers.

The young woman was teary as she pushed a full luggage cart toward the terminal exit. Another  woman, who also was crying, ran up to her. “I'm looking for my parents! They are elderly!”

As his wife headed out, Javad Fotouha said he is Iranian but has a green card. He said he and his wife had been detained for four hours after landing at Dulles around 6:30 p.m.

“We saw elderly people and disabled people” being detained, Fotouha said.

He said he and his wife had read on their phones during their layover in Istanbul that Trump had signed the executive order about five hours earlier. “Yes, I was scared,” Fotouha said.

At 11:35 p.m., about 80 protesters and lawyers started chanting “Contempt of court!” and “Let them in!” as lawyers said officials were ignoring the federal judge's order requiring that they have access to people being detained.

Fatemeh Ebrahimi, an Iranian who now lives in Montgomery County, was released at Dulles just before midnight, following a nearly six-hour wait with her two children after their plane landed. She said they traveled to Iran 10 days ago to celebrate her daughter’s and her birthdays with friends and family.

Ebrahimi said she has a green card, and her children, ages 21 and 7, are U.S. citizens. Her son emerged in a wheelchair with his sister on his lap, saying authorities had given them soup to eat while they waited.

“My kids are so tired right now,” a weary looking Ebrahimi said as she made her way through a thicket of lawyers and reporters toward the terminal doors. “They just kept us waiting.”

Shortly after midnight, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) emerged from a Dulles airport hallway being guarded by police officers near the customs screening area. Speaking to a crowd of more than 100 protesters, Booker said federal officials had told him that the remaining detainees would be released “momentarily.”

Volunteer lawyers said one person remained to be released as of 12:30 a.m. The lawyers said others who had been released had told them two additional men had been handcuffed after they refused to give authorities their green cards, and their status was unknown. Lawyers said they still had not been permitted to speak with those being detained — what they called a violation of the federal judge’s court order.

Booker told protesters he agreed with the attorneys and predicted a “long, arduous and tough fight” over the executive order. “This is not a one-night thing and it’s not a one-day thing,” he said.

After most protesters and lawyers had gone home for the night, Binto Adan and her two young children, an 8-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl, emerged at 1:20 am Sunday from the customs screening area. Adan ducked under the ropes lining the walkway and hugged two relatives who were waiting for them.

Adan’s daughter had tears in her eyes as her mother led the children toward the terminal exit. Adan did not speak to reporters, but one of her relatives said the family endured a 17-hour ordeal.

A nephew of Adan’s, Najib Abi, said his aunt and her children arrived at Dulles at 8 a.m. Saturday from Kenya. They were supposed to transfer to another flight to live in Minnesota, where her husband was waiting for them. The family is Somali, but the children and their father are U.S. citizens, Abi said. Adan has an I-130 visa for relatives of U.S. citizens, he said.

Abi said immigration officials called his uncle on Saturday, saying his wife and children were detained. Abi said his uncle was told that someone would need to retrieve the children by 9:30 a.m. Sunday or they would be sent back to Kenya with their mother.

Abi said he and other relatives arrived at Dulles from Minnesota late Saturday night. He said Adan didn't have a cell phone. “We weren’t allowed to talk to them,” Abi said.

Then, without any explanation, Adan and her children were released.

As of 2 a.m., one Syrian woman was still detained at Dulles, said Mirriam Seddiq, a volunteer lawyer. Attorneys were told the woman would be held overnight and would have an initial asylum hearing Sunday morning, Seddiq said.

The woman arrived at Dulles at 7 p.m. Saturday with a non-immigrant J2 visa, Seddiq said. Her husband is in the United States on a J1 visa for professional training, Seddiq said.

Several lawyers would spend the night at Dulles, Seddiq said, with more returning Sunday morning to try to get access to any international passengers detained. Immigration officials did not allow lawyers to visit with detainees Saturday, despite a federal judge’s order that they be allowed to do so.

A Customs and Border Protection official at Dulles told lawyers that they were awaiting directions from the Department of Homeland Security's counsel office, Seddiq said.

washington post



Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide

A federal judge in Brooklyn came to the aid of scores of refugees and others who were trapped at airports across the United States on Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic scenes across the globe.

The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.

The high-stakes legal case played out on Saturday amid global turmoil, as the executive order signed by the president slammed shut the borders of the United States for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Massachusetts, a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio and countless others across the world.

The president’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen at 4:42 p.m. Friday, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen

The Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States. In a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United States would need a case-by-case waiver to return.

Mr. Trump — in office just a week — found himself accused of constitutional and legal overreach by two Iraqi immigrants, defended by the American Civil Liberties Union. Meanwhile, large crowds of protesters turned out at airports around the country to denounce Mr. Trump’s ban on the entry of refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Lawyers who sued the government to block the White House order said the judge’s decision could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained upon arrival at American airports.

Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m. that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could cause them “irreparable harm.” She said the government was “enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.

The ruling does not appear to force the administration to let in people otherwise blocked by Mr. Trump’s order who have not yet traveled to the United States.

The judge’s one-page ruling came swiftly after lawyers for the A.C.L.U. testified in her courtroom that one of the people detained at an airport was being put on a plane to be deported back to Syria at that very moment. A government lawyer, Gisela A. Westwater, who spoke to the court by phone from Washington, said she simply did not know.

Hundreds of people waited outside of the courthouse chanting, “Set them free!” as lawyers made their case. When the crowd learned that Judge Donnelly had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, a rousing cheer went up in the crowd.

Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York City, another judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court in Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order for a week to block the removal of any green card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.

In a statement released early Sunday morning, the Department of Homeland Security said it would continue to enforce all of the president’s executive orders, even while complying with judicial decisions. “Prohibited travel will remain prohibited,” the department said in a statement, adding that the directive was “a first step towards re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

Around the nation, security personnel at major international airports had new rules to follow, though the application of the order appeared chaotic and uneven. Humanitarian organizations delivered the bad news to overseas families that had overcome the bureaucratic hurdles previously in place and were set to travel. And refugees already on flights when the order was signed on Friday found themselves detained upon arrival.

“We’ve gotten reports of people being detained all over the country,” said Becca Heller, the director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. “They’re literally pouring in by the minute.”

Earlier in the day, at the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off the sense of anxiety and disarray, suggesting that there had been an orderly rollout. “It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,” he said. “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”

But to many, the government hardly seemed prepared for the upheaval that Mr. Trump’s actions put into motion.

There were numerous reports of students attending American universities who were blocked from returning to the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. A Sudanese graduate student at Stanford University was blocked for hours from entering the country.

Human rights groups reported that legal permanent residents of the United States who hold green cards were being stopped in foreign airports as they sought to return from funerals, vacations or study abroad. There was widespread condemnation of the order, from religious leaders, business executives, academics, political leaders and others. Mr. Trump’s supporters offered praise, calling it a necessary step on behalf of the nation’s security.

Homeland Security officials said on Saturday night that 109 people who were already in transit to the United States when the order was signed were denied access; 173 were stopped before boarding planes heading to America. Eighty-one people who were stopped were eventually given waivers to enter the United States, officials said.

Legal residents who have a green card and are currently in the United States should meet with a consular officer before leaving the country, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told reporters. Officials did not clarify the criteria that would qualify someone for a waiver, other than that it would be granted “in the national interest.”

But the week-old administration appeared to be implementing the order chaotically, with agencies and officials around the globe interpreting it in different ways.

The Stanford student, Nisrin Omer, a legal permanent resident, said she was held at Kennedy International Airport in New York for about five hours but was eventually allowed to leave the airport. Others who were detained appeared to be still in custody or sent back to their home countries.

White House aides claimed on Saturday that there had been consultations with State Department and homeland security officials about carrying out the order. “Everyone who needed to know was informed,” one aide said.

But that assertion was denied by multiple officials with knowledge of the interactions, including two officials at the State Department. Leaders of Customs and Border Protection and of Citizenship and Immigration Services — the two agencies most directly affected by the order — were on a telephone briefing on the new policy even as Mr. Trump signed it on Friday, two officials said.

The A.C.L.U.’s legal case began with two Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, the named plaintiffs in the case. One was en route to reunite with his wife and son in Texas. The other had served alongside Americans in Iraq for a decade.

Shortly after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter who worked for more than a decade on behalf of the United States government in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back and miming handcuffs.

“What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Mr. Darweesh said. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”

The other man the lawyers are representing, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who was en route to Houston, was released Saturday night.

Before the two men were released, one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, a supervising attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project, asked an official, “Who is the person we need to talk to?”

“Call Mr. Trump,” said the official, who declined to identify himself.

While the judge’s ruling means that none of the detainees will be sent back immediately, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case expressed concern that all those at the airports would now be put in detention, pending a resolution of the case.

The White House said the restrictions would protect “the United States from foreign nationals entering from countries compromised by terrorism” and allow the administration time to put in place “a more rigorous vetting process.” But critics condemned Mr. Trump over the collateral damage on people who had no sinister intentions in trying to come to the United States.

Peaceful protests began forming Saturday afternoon at Kennedy Airport, where nine travelers had been detained upon arrival at Terminal 7 and two others at Terminal 4, an airport official said. Similar scenes were playing out at other airports across the nation.

An official message to all American diplomatic posts around the world provided instructions about how to treat people from the countries affected: “Effective immediately, halt interviewing and cease issuance and printing” of visas to the United States.

Internationally, confusion turned to panic as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States. In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight it had boarded.

Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, a promising young Iranian scientist, had been scheduled to travel in the coming days to Boston, where he had been awarded a fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard, according to Thomas Michel, the professor who was to supervise the research fellowship.

But Professor Michel said the visas for the student and his wife had been indefinitely suspended.

“This outstanding young scientist has enormous potential to make contributions that will improve our understanding of heart disease, and he has already been thoroughly vetted,” Professor Michel wrote to The New York Times.

A Syrian family of six who have been living in a Turkish refugee camp since fleeing their home in 2014 had been scheduled to arrive on Tuesday in Cleveland. Instead, the family’s trip has been called off.

“Everyone is just so heartbroken, so angry, so sad,” said Danielle Drake, the community manager for US Together, an agency that resettles refugees.

A Christian family of six from Syria said in an email to Representative Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, that they were being detained on Saturday morning at Philadelphia International Airport despite having legal paperwork, green cards and visas that had been approved.

In the case of the two Iraqis held at Kennedy Airport, the legal filings by his lawyers say that Mr. Darweesh was granted a special immigrant visa on Jan. 20, the same day Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.

A husband and father of three, Mr. Darweesh arrived at Kennedy Airport with his family. Mr. Darweesh’s wife and children made it through passport control and customs, but agents of Customs and Border Protection detained him.

In Istanbul, during a stopover on Saturday, passengers reported that security officers had entered a plane after everyone had boarded and ordered a young Iranian woman and her family to leave the aircraft.

Iranian green card holders who live in the United States were blindsided by the decree while on vacation in Iran, finding themselves in a legal limbo and unsure whether they would be able to return to America.

“How do I get back home now?” said Daria Zeynalia, a green card holder who was visiting family in Iran. He had rented a house and leased a car, and would be eligible for citizenship in November. “What about my job? If I can’t go back soon, I’ll lose everything.”

ny times



Experts question legality of Trump's immigration ban on Muslim countries

Shortly after signing documents in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump said his crackdown on refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries "is not a Muslim ban."

The future of President Trump's executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries may come down to a legal battle between his powers as commander in chief and discrimination limitations established by Congress.

A federal judge in New York issued a temporary, nationwide stay on the order late Saturday night. Lawyers, pushed along by a growing group of protesters, spent the day trying to free immigrants who were traveling when Trump's order was released, leaving them either detained at U.S. airports or stranded overseas.

But the legality of Trump's order won't be completely clear until it faces more hearings in federal court as Trump's Department of Justice squares off with a team of lawyers from civil rights and immigration advocacy groups.

Supporters of Trump's plan say he is standing on firm legal ground to ban immigrants and refugees temporarily from those countries because they pose a national security threat. Trump's order opens by citing the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and explains that the immigration suspension is necessary to give the federal government time to strengthen its vetting procedures for people coming from terror-prone countries.

"Throughout the history of this country, courts have given, for obvious reasons, the executive extraordinary latitude in making determinations associated with national security," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that advocates for lower levels of legal and illegal immigration. "And this is a national security judgement, something that courts would never want to interfere with."

Critics of Trump's plan say his national security argument is undercut by his repeated calls on the campaign trail for a "Muslim ban" and his comments Friday that he wants to prioritize the immigration of persecuted Christians over Muslims. Trump's ban also applies to everyone from Syria.

David Leopold, a Cleveland immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said a president clearly has a right to bar certain immigrants or groups of immigrants from entering the U.S. Trump's order cited a long-standing federal law that allows a president to bar entry to any immigrants or group of immigrants who the president deems "detrimental to the interests of the United States."

"But what the Trump administration failed to do," Leopold said, "is understand that nothing in our law justifies banning an entire religion, banning an entire nationality. He's going to have to answer how he can say that all of Syria is detrimental."

Leopold's argument rests largely on the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which forbids discrimination against immigrants based on their "nationality, place of birth, or place of residence." The U.S. had previously used an immigration system that set a limit on the number of people who could enter the U.S. from each country, a system that heavily favored immigration from western Europe.

But that law has been set aside by presidents during national emergencies, according to Michael Hethmon, senior counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which provides legal support to legislators and politicians who want to reduce immigration.

Hethmon uses the example of President Carter, who in 1980 barred some Iranians from entering the U.S. during a crisis over 52 Americans being held hostage Tehran. He said that case mirrors what Trump is facing now — the United States facing a large number of people in specific countries who are trying to harm the U.S

"The court will say, 'There's a rational basis for picking these seven countries,'" Hethmon said. "They're all in the midst of civil conflict, they're all places where terrorist networks that are particularly dangerous to the U.S. exists. There are multiple reasons why refugees from these countries merit additional, or even extensive, scrutiny."

The seven are Iran, Sudan and Syria  which comprise the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism  plus Iraq, Libya Somalia and Yemen

The key for a court to understand the true intent behind Trump's order whether it's a religious ban or a national security concern could lie in one paragraph of his executive order. It declares that once the refugee program is reinstated, the Department of Homeland Security must prioritize refugee claims made by persecuted religious minorities.

"Whoever drafted the order, I think they thought they were being incredibly clever immunizing this from legal scrutiny," said Jens David Ohlin, an international law professor at Cornell Law School. "But they might have shot themselves in the foot with that one."

Ohlin said that one section, which he said was the only piece of the order that did not pin itself to the national security argument, may open the entire order to questions about favoring one religion over another. It also follows comments Trump made to the Christian Broadcast Service on Friday, when he said Christians had been treated unfairly under the U.S. refugee program and they needed to be prioritized in the future.

"Courts are going to be giving really serious scrutiny to that one," Ohlin said.

As legal questions continue to swirl over Trump's order, only one certainty exists. "This is the start of a wave of litigation," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Protests flared as President Trump's executive order blocked refugees from entering U.S. airports, including travelers who already had valid visas.

usa today


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