|Executive Order 13769
Protecting the Nation from Foreign
Terrorist Entry into the United States
||U.S. President Donald Trump
||January 27, 2017
||January 27, 2017
- Suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days (expires May 27, 2017)
- Restricts entry from seven countries for 90 days (expires April 27, 2017)
- Suspends admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely
- Prioritizes the admission of refugees from minority religions claiming religious-based persecution
|Status: Not fully in force
Map of countries affected by the executive order. Collectively the order applies to over 200 million people (approximate population of the seven countries) while about 90,000 people from these countries currently hold a US immigrant or non-immigrant visa
Executive Order 13769 —entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States“— is an executive order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017. The order, part of Trump’s immigration-related campaign promises, suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, after which the program will be conditionally resumed for individual countries, and with higher priority for followers of minority religions. The order also indefinitely suspended the entry of refugees from Syria, where they live under ISIS. Further, the order suspended the entry—regardless of valid non-diplomatic visa[a]— of alien nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, after which an updated list of prohibited countries will be determined. The initial seven countries are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which were previously singled out by the Obama administration for travel restrictions that are milder than the executive order’s. The order allows exceptions to these suspensions on a case-by-case basis. Based on this allowance, the Department of Homeland Security exempted U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders), citing national interest provisions in the executive order, and the White House later said that green card holders will not need any waivers to exempt them from the new policy.
The order also had other immediate and long-term effects. Immediately after its enactment, dozens of travelers were detained and held for hours without access to family, friends, or legal assistance. According to The Washington Post, the travel suspensions can potentially impact around 90,000 people, which is the number of immigrant and non-immigrant visas issued to people from the seven affected countries in fiscal year 2015.
The order and the detentions that followed led to several lawsuits seeking to block enforcement of the order that were filed on behalf of affected travelers and of state officials, saying that the order violates the U.S. Constitution, multiple federal statutes, and American treaty obligations. In the days following its introduction, several federal courts issued emergency orders halting detentions and expulsions pending final rulings. A court in Boston ordered that lawful immigrants from the seven barred nations be notified that they may enter the U.S. through Logan Airport. After the Boston ruling, the Department of Homeland Security said that it would continue to enforce all of the executive order and that “prohibited travel will remain prohibited.” Plaintiffs in a court ruling in Virginia claimed that the government was in contempt of court and not following its orders.
Critics described the order as a “Muslim ban” for targeting Muslim-majority countries and prioritizing minority-religion refugees. President Trump, however, stated that, “this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” while Rudy Giuliani, who said he helped write the order, called it a legal alternative to a religious ban targeting Muslims.
Domestically, the order prompted criticism from Democratic and Republican members of Congress, American diplomats, American universities, business leaders, Catholic bishops, and Jewish organizations. According to an Ipsos/Reuters poll, 48% of Americans agreed with the order, while 41% of Americans disagreed. Protests erupted in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, other U.S. airports, and U.S. cities.
The order prompted broad condemnation from the international community, including longstanding U.S. allies, although some international figures expressed support for it. The travel ban and suspension of refugee admissions was criticized by top United Nations officials and by a group of 40 Nobel laureates and thousands of other academics.Doctors at medical institutes and scientific groups also protested the order.
Map comparing US immigrant and non-immigrant visas issued at Foreign Service posts by country in 2016, highlighting the seven countries in the Executive Order.
As part of a spending bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The bill specifically listed Iraq and Syria as countries where dual citizens would also need visas for travel, plus all nations on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, which added Sudan and Iran. It also allowed the Secretary of Homeland Security to add additional countries of concern within 60 days, leading to the addition of Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Donald Trump became the U.S. president on January 20, 2017. He has long said, despite evidence, that large numbers of terrorists are using the U.S. refugee resettlement program to enter the country. A 2015 report published by the Migration Policy Institute found that 784,000 refugees had resettled in the United States since September 11, 2001, with only 3 arrested for suspected terrorism. In June 2016, the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, of which Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz were members, claimed based on open-source research conducted on a list provided by the Department of Justice, that at least 380 of the 580 individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2014, were born abroad. The Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh has pointed out that these claims were flawed and problematic in that “241 of the 580 convictions, or 42 percent, were not… for terrorism offenses”; these started with a terrorism tip but the actual charge ended up being not related to terrorism, e.g., “receiving stolen cereal.”
As a candidate, Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” pledged to suspend immigration from “terror-prone regions”. Trump-administration officials then billed the executive order as fulfilling this campaign promise.
During his initial election campaign, Trump had proposed a temporary, conditional, and “total” ban on Muslims entering the United States. His proposal was met by opposition by U.S. politicians.Mike Pence and James Mattis—who later became Vice President and Secretary of Defense, respectively, under Trump—were among those who opposed the proposal. Trump, in a speech following the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, proposed to suspend immigration from “areas of the world” with a history of terrorism, a change from his previous proposal to suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S; the campaign did not announce the details of the plan at the time, but Jeff Sessions, an advisor to Trump on the issue, said the proposal was a statement of purpose to be supplied with details in subsequent months.
In a speech on August 31, 2016, Trump vowed to “suspend the issuance of visas” to “places like Syria and Libya.”
Trump’s campaign website has credited Sessions as an influential advisor on immigration. Sessions served as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest during the 114th Congress. Political operative Stephen Miller, a “major architect” of the refugee and visa ban according to the Los Angeles Times, learned about immigration policy in the office of Senator Sessions before becoming a top Trump advisor and speechwriter.
President Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) that Christian refugees would be given priority in terms of refugee status in the United States, after saying that Syrian Christians were “horribly treated” by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Christians make up very small fractions (0.1% to 1.5%) of the Syrian refugees who have registered with the UN High Comission for Refugees in Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon; those registered represent the pool from which the US selects refugees. António Guterres, then the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, explained in October 2015 that many Syrian Christians have ties to the Christian community in Lebanon and have sought the UN’s services in smaller numbers. During 2016, the US had admitted almost as many Christian as Muslim refugees Based on this data, Senator Chris Coons accused Trump of spreading “false facts” and “alternative facts“.
Development of the order
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which usually reviews all executive orders before issuance, declined to say whether it had reviewed the order. Two days after the order’s issuance, the OLC had not posted a publicly available opinion regarding the executive order to its website. On January 29, NBC News reported that the order was not reviewed by the Justice Department or by the departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, or Defense, and that attorneys at the National Security Council were blocked from evaluating the order. According to the DOJ, on January 30, then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates indicated the executive order had been reviewed by the DOJ’s OLC, which found the order lawful on its face. Yates’s successor, Acting Attorney General Dana J. Boente, issued guidance to Justice Department employees on the evening of January 30 stating that the Office of Legal Counsel “found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted.” According to CNN, the executive order was developed primarily by White House officials (which the Los Angeles Times reported included Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller) without input from the Justice and Homeland Security departments that is typically a part of the drafting process. This was disputed by White House officials. Trump aides said that the order had been issued in consultation with DHS and State Department officials; however, multiple officials at the State Department and other agencies said it was not.
An official from the Trump administration said that parts of the order had been developed in the transition period between Trump’s election and his inauguration. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News that President Trump came to him for guidance over the order. He said that Trump called him about a “Muslim ban” and asked Giuliani to form a committee to show him “the right way to do it legally”. The committee, which included former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and Reps. Mike McCaul and Peter T. King, decided to drop the religious basis and instead focused on regions where Giuliani says that there is “substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists” to the United States.
A draft of the executive order leaked to civil rights organizations on Wednesday, January 25, 2017.
Section 3 of the order blocks entry of aliens, regardless of valid non-diplomatic visa,[a] from countries covered under a section[b] of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), namely Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen, for 90 days, after which a list of additional countries must be prepared. The cited section of the INA refers to aliens who have been present in or are nationals of Iraq, Syria, and other countries designated by the Secretary of State. Citing Section 3(c) of the Executive Order, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Edward J. Ramotowski issued a notice that “provisionally revoke[s] all valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals” of the designated countries.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, must conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA. Within 30 days, the Secretary of Homeland Security must list countries that do not provide adequate information. The foreign governments then have 60 days to provide the information on their nationals, after which the Secretary of Homeland Security must submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals from countries that do not provide the information.
The order also said that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.
Section 5 suspends the U. S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, to be resumed only for such countries as the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence determine. The suspension for Syrian refugees is indefinite. The number of new refugees allowed in 2017 is capped to 50,000, down from 110,000. After the resumption of USRAP, refugee applications will be prioritized based on religion-based persecutions only in the case that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in that country.
Section 7 of the order calls for an expedited completion and implementation of a biometric entry/exit tracking system for all travelers coming into the United States.
Section 1, describing the purpose of the order, invoked the September 11 attacks stating that then State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of the attackers However, none of the September 11 hijackers were from any of the seven banned countries. When announcing his executive action, Trump made similar references to the attacks several times.
The seven countries targeted by the executive order exclude Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Muslim-majority countries where The Trump Organization has conducted business or pursued business opportunities. This prompted criticism; legal scholar David G. Post, for example, suggested that Trump had “allowed business interests to interfere with his public policymaking” and that this could constitute an impeachable offense.
Green card holders
There was some confusion about the status of green card holders (permanent residents). Initially, the Department of Homeland Security said that the order barred green card holders from the affected countries, and White House officials said that they would need a case-by-case waiver to return. On January 29, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that green card holders would not be prevented from returning to the United States. According to the Associated Press, as of January 28 no green card holders were ultimately denied entry to the U.S., although several initially spent “long hours” in detention. On January 29, the Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly deemed entry of lawful permanent residents into the U.S. to be “in the national interest”, exempting them from the ban according to the provisions of the executive order.
There is similar confusion about whether the order affects dual citizens of a banned country and a non-banned country. The U.S. State Department said that the order did not affect U.S. citizens who also hold citizenship of one of the seven banned countries. On January 28, the State Department stated that other travelers with dual nationality of one of these countries – for example, an Iranian who also hold a Canadian passport – would not be permitted to enter. However, the International Air Transport Association told their airlines that dual nationals who hold a passport from a non-banned country would be allowed in. The United Kingdom‘s Foreign and Commonwealth Office also issued a press release saying that it applies to those traveling from the listed countries, not those that merely have their citizenship. The confusion led companies and institutions to take a more cautious approach; for example, Google told its dual national employees to stay in the United States until more clarity could be provided.
Shortly after the enactment of the executive order at 4:42 pm on January 27, border officials across the country began enforcing the new rules. The New York Times reported people with various backgrounds and statuses being denied entry or sent back, including refugees and minority Christians from the affected countries as well as students and green card holders returning to the United States after visits abroad.
People from the countries mentioned in the order were turned away from flights to the U.S., even though they had valid visas. Some were stranded in a foreign country while in transit. Several people already on planes flying to the U.S. at the time the order was signed were detained on arrival. On January 28, the ACLU estimated that there were 100 to 200 people being detained in U.S. airports, and hundreds were barred from boarding U.S.-bound flights. About 60 legal permanent residents were reported to have been detained at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. The Department of Homeland Security said that on January 28 the order affected “less than one percent” of the 325,000 air travelers who arrived in the United States. By January 29, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that 375 travelers had been affected with 109 travelers in transit and another 173 prevented from boarding flights. In some airports, there were reports that Border Patrol agents were requesting access to travelers’ social media accounts.
On January 30, Trump said in a Twitter post that “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning.” The actual number affected, however, was far higher, as Department of Homeland Security officials later acknowledged. On January 31, the agency reported that 721 people had been denied boarding for the U.S. since enforcement of the travel ban began; 1,060 waivers for Green Card holders had been processed; 75 waivers had been granted for persons with immigrant and nonimmigrant visas; and 872 waivers for refugees had been granted.
The Washington Post fact-checker found that “the universe of people likely affected by the travel suspension is around 90,000,” representing the number of number of U.S. visas issued in the seven affected countries in fiscal year 2015. The New York Times counts give 86,000 visitors, students and workers in addition to 52,365 who passed the requirements for green cards. The process was shrouded in secrecy at the Los Angeles International Airport; officials refused to release statistics on the number of people deported or the number of people detained and for how long.
Google called its traveling employees back to the U.S., in case the order prevents them from returning. About 100 of the company’s employees were thought to be from the countries in the order. Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a letter to his staff that “it’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues. We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”
According to Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, the order distressed citizens of the affected countries, including those holding valid green cards and visas. Those outside the U.S. fear that they will not be allowed in, while those already in the country fear that they will not be able to leave, even temporarily, because they would not be able to return.
Trump’s speech just after signing the executive order on January 28, 2017 indicated its purpose was to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” from the U.S. and invoked September 11. On January 29, 2017, Trump issued an official statement clarifying his stance on the executive order. Trump said that his policy is “similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months” and stated that the executive order did not target religion, stating “there are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order”. Trump concluded, “I have tremendous feeling for the people involved in this horrific humanitarian crisis in Syria.” Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post stated that Obama limited immigration for six months, but continued to admit refugees during all six months and did not ban all citizens (including green card holders) from traveling to the United States, although lawful permanent residents have since been exempted from Trump’s executive order. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine said that the 2011 case involved a temporary response to specific intelligence regarding two suspicious Iraqi refugees and said that Trump’s “sweeping halt in the absence of a reported breach” is not comparable.
The Trump administration’s January 30, 2017 follow-up statement said the order applied to countries “previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror”. The Trump administration’s executive order relied on H.R.158 or the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, which was passed by congress and signed into law by President Obama. The act barred citizens from entering the United States without a visa if they came from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Sudan, with Libya, Yemen and Somalia added later. Travelers from 38 other countries were allowed to enter without a visa for up to 90 days. H.R. 158 did not ban entry from any designated country.
On January 30, White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, used the Quebec City mosque shooting as an illustration of the need for anti-terror policies saying, “It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant, and why the president is taking steps to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.” However, as the Toronto Star pointed out, it was strange to use this example since the accused gunman was not a Muslim. The Independent in the UK also reported that Spicer’s comments seemed to use the attack as a justification for the US president’s own anti-terror policies but did not specify which policies he was referring to.
Spicer held a press briefing on January 31 where he said that it was incorrect to refer to the executive order as a “travel ban” and that only the media was using those words to describe the order. When pointed out by an NBC reporter that Trump himself used the word in his personal twitter account, Spicer responded that it was because the media is using it. He also confronted the reporter that NBC news was part of the confusion for falsely reporting that Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly had not been properly consulted before the executive order was signed.
Trump has also defended his executive order through Twitter. On January 29, he tweeted: “Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!”On Monday, he continued to tweet, where he “de-emphasized the number of travelers affected by the hasty implementation of the travel ban”, according to Business Insider. It was also written in The Washington Post that his tweets were intended to minimize the impact the executive order had on travelers. In several other tweets on Monday, he blamed travel delays on a Delta airline computer outage, “protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer”. The computer outage Trump referred to actually occurred on Sunday January 29, two days after the order was signed. Trump defended the executive order on Twitter, stating that searching for terrorists is not about being “nice” and that “[i]f the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!” On February 1, Trump tweeted, “Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!”
Domestic political reaction
Trump faced much criticism for the executive order. Democrats “were nearly united in their condemnation” of the policy, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that “tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded, has been stomped upon”. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the order “plays into the hands of fanatics wishing to harm America”. Senator Kamala Harris of California and the Council on American–Islamic Relations denounced the order and called it a Muslim ban. Trump’s order was also criticized by former U.S. Secretaries of State Madeleine Albrightand Hillary Clinton. Kevin Lewis, spokesperson to Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, also said (in apparent reference to the order) that the ex-president “fundamentally disagrees” with religious discrimination.
Among Republicans, some praised the order, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan saying that Trump was “right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country” while noting that he supported the refugee resettlement program. Alabama governor Robert Bentley also supported the order. Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte said that he was “pleased that President Trump is using the tools granted to him by Congress and the power granted by the Constitution to help keep America safe and ensure we know who is entering the United States”. However, some top Republicans in Congress criticized the order. In a statement, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham cited the confusion that the order caused and the fact that the “order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security”. McCain stated that the order would “probably, in some areas, give ISIS some more propaganda”. Senator Susan Collins, who announced in August 2016 that she would not vote for Trump because she felt he was “unsuitable for office”, also objected to the ban, calling it “overly broad” and saying that “implementing it will be immediately problematic”. Several other Republican senators offered more muted criticism. In response to McCain and Graham’s statement, Trump criticized them on Twitter January 29, questioning their stance on immigration and saying that they “should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III”.
Sixteen Democratic state attorneys general signed a joint statement condemning the order as unconstitutional,including those in California, Pennsylvania and New York. The statement said they intended to “use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order”. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo both pledged to have their states look into how they could aid refugees in state airports.
List of protests against Executive Order 13769
United StatesThrough January 28–29 a large number of airport protests were held across the nation in opposition to Donald Trump‘s Executive Order 13769 known as Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.
||New Orleans, City Hall
Protests against the order at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport
Trump immigration order sparks protests at New York’s airport (report from Voice of America)
Protests against the order at San Francisco International Airport on January 29, 2017
On January 28 and thereafter, thousands of protesters gathered at airports and other locations throughout the United States to protest the signing of the order and detention of the foreign nationals.
Members of the United States Congress, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D–MA) and Congressman John Lewis (D–GA) joined the protests in their own home states. Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Y Combinator president Sam Altman joined the protest at San Francisco airport. Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, joined the protest at Dulles International Airport on Saturday.
In response to protests, the airport operators of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Seattle–Tacoma International Airport shut down transit access to the airport (AirTrain JFK and the SeaTac/Airport light rail station, respectively). New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that AirTrain service resume, while Sound Transit ordered the resumption of light rail service in Seattle.
The “dissent cable” memo.
Over nine-hundred United States diplomats in the State Department have created a memo or “dissent cable” which outlines their disagreement with the order. The memo has been sent through the “dissent channel“ which was put into place in 1971 in order to allow senior leadership in the department to have access to differing viewpoints on the Vietnam War. On Monday, January 30, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told dissenting diplomats to leave their jobs if they do not agree with the Trump administration by saying “They should either get with the program or they can go”, despite the rules protecting dissenters in the State Department.
United Nations and human rights groups
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said that the travel bans “indeed violate our basic principles. And I think that they are not effective if the objective is to really avoid terrorists to enter the United States.” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein denounced the travel ban, writing that “wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism” and is illegal under international human rights law.
In a joint statement, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration urged the new Trump administration to follow “the longstanding U.S. policy of welcoming refugees”, stating: “We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.”
The travel ban was condemned by Amnesty International, which vowed to fight it; the director of Amnesty International USA termed the executive order “dangerous”, while the director of Amnesty International UK said that it was “shocking and appalling” and feared that the ban become permanent. Human Rights Watch similarly condemned the measure, saying that “The decision to drastically curtail the refugee program will abandon tens of thousands to the risk of persecution or worse and cede American leadership on a vitally important issue” and would not make the U.S. safer.
The International Rescue Committee condemned the executive order; its president, David Miliband, said that the executive order presented “a test for the Western world … of whether or not we hold fast to the values of non-discrimination and to universal values of freedom from persecution.” Miliband also called it “a propaganda gift for all those who would do harm to the United States.”
Scholars and experts
Twenty Nobel Prize laureates, along with thousands of other scholars, including Fields Medal winners, John Bates Clark Medal recipients, and National Academy of Sciences members, signed a petition condemning the order, stating that the order compels the “unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working, and well-integrated immigrants fundamentally contravenes the founding principles of the United States” and was detrimental to the national interest.Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai also condemned the executive order.
Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution described the order as “malevolence tempered by incompetence”, saying that it “will cause hardship and misery for tens or hundreds of thousands of people because that is precisely what it is intended to do“. Law professor and conservative blogger Ilya Somin termed the order “cruel and counterproductive”, saying “It inflicts great harm on many thousands of people while simultaneously endangering national security”. Jonathan H. Adler declared that “the degree of administrative incompetence in [the order’s] execution is jaw-dropping”, criticizing “the cavalier and reckless manner in which this specific EO was developed and implemented”.
In a 2016 political analysis paper by Alex Nowrasteh for the Cato Institute, Nowrasteh states, “the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year”. Citing Nowrasteh’s paper, The Economist said this makes death by cows, fireworks and malfunctioning elevators much likelier and described Trump’s order as “almost worthless”.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board blasted Trump’s executive order as “blunderbuss and broad”. The New York Times labeled the executive order as “cruel, bigoted, cowardly, and self-defeating”, calling it a “blatantly unconstitutional” and “un-American” decision that exacerbated “injury and suffering … on families that had every reason to believe they had outrun carnage and despotism in their homelands to arrive in a singularly hopeful nation”. The Sacramento Bee condemned the order as “sickening, draconian, disgraceful, and wrong on every level, to the point of incompetence”.The Boston Globe described the act as “shameful” and “offensive”, saying that it not only fails to protect Americans but also “hands a propaganda victory to ISIS, appearing to vindicate the claim that the United States is out to get Muslims”.
According to experts, Trump’s order “is unlikely to significantly reduce the terrorist threat in the United States”, and “many experts believe the order’s unintended consequences will make the threat worse”. Professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina said that since the September 11 attacks in 2001, “no one has been killed in the United States in a terrorist attack by anyone who emigrated from or whose parents emigrated from” the seven countries targeted by the order. Some experts also said that “there was a random quality” in the selection of countries affected by the order; for example, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not listed although many jihadist groups were established there, and Pakistan and Afghanistan were also not listed despite longstanding histories of extremism in those countries; while others, including two former White House chief ethics lawyers, found a possible correlation between exclusions from the order and the Trump Organization’s business interests.
Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan said that six of the seven countries named in the order (with the exception of Yemen) were suggested as targets for regime change in an alleged classified paper produced by the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the autumn of 2001 following 9/11. The allegation was made by former General Wesley Clark in his 2007 memoir A Time to Lead. Cole suggested that “the actual situation is the opposite from the one advertised by Trump. These are not countries that pose a danger to the U.S. They are countries to which the U.S poses the risk, of instability and millions of displaced”.
Michael Hayden, who served Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama in high-level intelligence positions, including NSA director and CIA director, said of the executive order:
It’s a horrible move. It is a political, ideological move driven by the language of the [Trump] campaign and … promises in the campaign that were hyped by an exaggeration of the threat, and in fact what [the U.S. is] doing now has probably made us less safe today than we were Friday morning before th[e] [executive order] happened. Because we are now living the worst jihadist narrative possible: that there is undying enmity between Islam and the West. Muslims out there who were not part of the jihadist movement are now being shown that the story they were being told by the jihadists—”They hate us, they’re our enemy”—that’s being acted out by the American government. And frankly, at a humanitarian level, it’s an abomination.
The executive order left American colleges and universities scrambling amidst confusion over the full scope and extent of the order. Several universities, including Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia and George Washington University, told affected students and faculty members affected to avoid traveling abroad because of fears that they would be barred from reentering the country. The Association of American Universities‘s associate vice president for federal relations said that the ban was “very, very disruptive”, particularly to graduate students engaging in research.University presidents and other higher education leaders “said the order could ultimately hurt the country’s competitiveness if the best and brightest research scholars no longer want to study or work in the United States”, weakening American preeminence in higher education.
The order prompted broad condemnation from the international community, including longstanding U.S. allies.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs characterized Trump’s order as insulting to the Islamic world and counter-productive in the attempt to combat extremism. It announced that Iran would take “reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens”.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated Canada would continue to welcome refugees regardless of their faith. At the request of Jenny Kwan, Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Speaker of the House of Commons Geoff Regan called an emergency debate in the Canadian House of Commons about the order on January 31. Canadian civil society groups including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the national branch of Amnesty International issued statements which called for the suspension of the Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement.
British Prime Minister Theresa May was initially reluctant to condemn the policy, having just met with Trump the day prior, saying that “the United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees”. Fellow Conservative Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon, who was born in Iraq, said that he and his (also British Iraqi) wife had been informed would not be able to visit the U.S., despite no longer holding Iraqi citizenship, and called the ban “demeaning and sad”.The following day, however, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement that May did “not agree with this kind of approach”, and that “it is not one [the United Kingdom] will be taking”. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the stigmatisation generated by such an approach was “divisive and wrong”. The Foreign Office additionally stated that they had been received clarification on the policy, and that it would apply to dual nationals only if they were travelling to the United States from one of the listed countries. Other British politicians, including Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said that Trump should not come to the UK on a state visit, with Corbyn saying “I am not happy with him coming here until that ban is lifted”. More than 1.6 million signed an official parliamentary petition which said that “Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales.”
France and Germany condemned the order, with both countries’ foreign ministers saying in a joint news conference that “welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty” and that “the United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbor is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people“. German chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “the necessary, decisive battle against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain origin or a certain religion” and in a phone call with Trump, explained to him America’s obligations under the Refugee Convention. Among those affected by the order was the Bundestag member Omid Nouripour, who holds German–Iranian dual citizenship, and is the vice-chair of the German–American Parliamentary Friendship Group; German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reporting on this story said, “Nouripour symbolizes the irrationality of US President Donald Trump’s refugee arrival suspension policy and the temporary ban”.Nouripour said he was “very happy and proud of all those people at the airport protesting and the voluntary lawyers who have achieved a lot. These are the best reasons to say that no matter what the administration will do, I will always love the United States.” In total, around 100,000 Germans were believed to be affected by the law – chiefly German–Iranian dual citizens who are not legally allowed to surrender Iranian citizenship. Merkel’s spokesperson has said the German government will “represent their interests, if needed, vis-a-vis our US partners”. The Green Party of Germany has asked that if the executive order is not lifted, that Trump should be banned from entering Germany and thus prevented from attending the upcoming G20 Summit in Hamburg.
Some media outlets said Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull avoided public comment on the order, with Turnbull saying it “is not my job” to criticize it. The Sydney Morning Herald criticized Turnbull’s statement as one that was “positive” toward the policy. However, Australian opinion soured after a Tweet by Trump appeared to question a refugee deal already agreed by Turnbull and Obama. The deal, which would have seen the US “take an interest in” up to 1,250 asylum seekers from Australia’s offshore detention centers at Manus Island and Nauru, was described on Twitter by Trump as a “dumb deal” which he would “study”, and in a private phone call with Turnball, Trump called it “the worst deal ever”. In a radio interview, Turnball denied that the call – which had only lasted 25 minutes instead of the scheduled hour – ended because Trump hung up, but said that he would “expect that the commitment would continue”. Sky News Australia journalist Laura Jayes reported that according to government sources, Turnbull now saw Trump as “a bully, and to confront a bully you need to bully back”.
Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström tweeted that she was “deeply concerned” about the order, and worried it might create “mistrust between people”.
Czech President Miloš Zeman praised the order, and Foreign Minister of Italy Angelino Alfano said that Trump was “not doing anything other than implementing his promises” and that Europeans should not criticize him as “we too erect walls in Europe”, a statement echoed by Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski.
On February 1, the United Arab Emirates became the first Muslim-majority nation to back the order. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that most of the world’s Muslim-majority nations were not covered by the order, which he characterized as temporary and a “sovereign decision” of the United States.
Academic and scientific community
Over 6,000 college and university professors signed a national petition during the weekend of January 28 denouncing the executive order. Leaders in a large number of colleges and universities issued statements against the immigration ban. Academics criticized the executive order because of the disruption in education it caused some students, because of the confusion in its implication and in “many cases, expressed moral outrage.”
Scientists doing work in the United States who are from the targeted countries have been affected as well, stranding some scientists in other countries or away from loved ones and their research. Nature interviewed more than 20 researchers and scientists who have been affected.
Arts, culture, and sports
Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, whose film The Salesman is nominated for an Academy Award, said she would boycott the ceremony to protest the visa ban. Asghar Farhadi, the film’s director, may be blocked from attending the ceremony under the terms of Trump’s program. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which holds the ceremony, issued a statement denouncing the travel ban. Comedian Dave Chappelle also spoke against the executive order in Dayton, Ohio.
British long distance runner Sir Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia but holds only a British passport and lives and trains in Oregon, said that “Trump seems to have made me an alien” and that it was “deeply troubling” that he would be unable to train in Oregon or reunite with his family under the terms of the executive order; he also called attention to the difference between Trump’s actions and those of Queen Elizabeth II, who had knighted Farah earlier in the year. After clarification, Farah said he was “relieved” he would be able to return to his family in the U.S.
Sami Zayn, a Syrian Canadian professional wrestler, wrote on Twitter, “I can’t articulate how truly disgusted I am right now.” American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad wrote, “Our diversity makes our country strong.” Michael Bradley, the captain of the United States men’s national soccer team, wrote that he was “sad and embarrassed” by the executive order, adding that “the Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward”.
Members of the basketball community also spoke out to condemn the executive order. Canadian Steve Nash wrote, “Freedom and liberty [are] packing up their things.” American Nazr Mohammed wrote, “It’s a tough day when you find out that so many people that you thought were fans or friends really hate you and everything you believe in.” Enes Kanter, who is Turkish, wrote, “I am still in disbelief about the [Muslim ban].” Jeremy Lin, who is Chinese American, apologized to people affected by the executive order, then added, “this is for real getting out of control”. American Rondae Hollis-Jefferson called the executive order “BS”. Alexander Lasry, the senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, wrote, “This is not who we are as a country and doesn’t live up to our ideals.” Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, said, “What’s happening right now is really scary and disconcerting.”
Protests at the headquarters of Google, January 30, 2017, which drew about 2,000
Technology companies denounced Trump’s ban, and several recalled their employees to the United States. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were among the tech leaders who spoke out against the executive order. The Internet Association, a trade association representing Amazon, LinkedIn, and other companies, stated, “The internet industry is deeply concerned with the implications of President Trump’s executive order limiting immigration and movement into the United States.” Moved by Mo Farah’s statement regarding the impact of the executive order, Nike chairman Mark Parker affirmed that his company would stand “together against bigotry and any form of discrimination”. In solidarity with refugees affected by Trump’s ban, ride-sharing company Lyft donated one million dollars to the ACLU to support legal challenges against the order. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky offered to provide housing to refugees banned from the United States, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz pledged to hire 10,000 refugees at branches around the world over the next five years. The Koch brothers’ seminar network stated its opposition to the ban. Organizations in the video game industry also spoke out against the ban, including International Game Developers Association, the Entertainment Software Association, and Insomniac Games, and several developers launched efforts through their games to provide donations to the ACLU for the legal challenges. The Ford Motor Co. opposed the executive order, saying that it “goes against our values as a company.”
The Catholic Church has condemned the ban and encouraged mercy and compassion towards refugees. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that “The church will not waiver in her defence of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors”. Church leaders speaking against the ban include Chicago cardinalBlaise Cupich (who called the executive action a “dark moment in US history”), bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, and bishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.
The same opinion is Louis Raphaël I Sako, the Patriarch of Babylon and Head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, who believes that the Executive Order will bring further division between christians and muslims in the MENA region.
The stock market had its biggest drop in 2017 as investors reacted to the curb on immigration. As uncertainty about the executive order continued, investors began to “dump stocks and the dollar” causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to fall below 20,000. European and Asian markets also closed at lower rates because of the uncertainty surrounding the executive order.
On January 28, FiveThirtyEight discussed the ban, saying “the scope of Trump’s executive order is such that we’re largely in uncharted waters. Past polls are only so useful, as most of them did not ask about actions as broad as the ones Trump undertook.” Summarizing past polls, they found that Americans generally support reductions in immigration and refugee intake numbers, but oppose a religion-based immigration ban and blanket bans. A Rasmussen Reports national survey taken on January 25–26 found that 57% of likely U.S. voters support temporary reductions, 33% are opposed, and 10% are undecided. A Quinnipiac University national poll conducted January 5–9 showed American voters support 48–42 percent “suspending immigration from ‘terror prone’ regions, even if it means turning away refugees from those regions”. The same poll showed that American voters support 53–41 percent “requiring immigrants from Muslim countries to register with the federal government”.
A poll conducted by Ipsos/Reuters from January 30–31 found that Americans agree with Trump’s executive order 48% to 41%, agree that the United States should limit the number of refugees allowed into the country 66% to 26%, should welcome Muslim refugees as well as Christian ones 57% to 28%, should welcome refugees from all conflicts not just certain ones 56% to 31%, and should open the borders to those fleeing ISIS specifically 49% to 40%. The poll also found Americans agree that all countries should open their borders to refugees of foreign conflicts 48% to 42%, and believe that singling out a group based on religion violates American principles 44% to 39%. The poll had a 95% confidence interval of 4.7%, adjusted for design effect. Support for the travel ban split along party lines. A majority of Democrats strongly disagreed with Trump’s ban, while a majority of Republicans strongly agreed. The poll also found that Republicans were three times more likely than Democrats to believe that “banning people from Muslim countries is necessary to prevent terrorism.”
In other findings of the Reuters poll, 31% of Americans believed that the ban made them more safe. 26% felt less safe after the executive order, while 33% said that it would not make a difference. 72% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans, disagreed that the country should “welcome Christian refugees, but not Muslim ones.”
The Economist noted that that the order was signed on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, “a time when many Americans recall with anguish the hundreds of German Jewish refugees denied entry to American ports”. This fact, as well as Trump’s omission of any reference to Jews or Anti-Semitism in his concurrent address for Holocaust Remembrance Day and the ban’s possible effect on Muslim refugees, led to condemnation from Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, the HIAS, and J Street, as well as Holocaust survivors. Some of these organizations were involved in the protests against the immigration ban at the JFK International airport and in Manhattan, with groups of Jews, on the Sabbath, joining interfaith protests with Muslims against the immigration ban. For the first time since the war began, there is talk in Israel to reverse the long standing ban on Syrian refugees and allow in 100 Syrian children, none of the children have yet entered Israel.
Alt-right and far-right organizations
Some groups that can be considered part of the “alt-right,” including white nationalists, anti-Semites, Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) praised the executive order. The neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, was “ecstatic” over the immigration ban. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) reported that Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer advocated for the arrest of Judge Ann Donnelly, who issued a temporary stay on some of the executive order’s provisions.
Some European far-right groups and politicians applauded the executive order. Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam Party for Freedom, also said he supported the measure as did Alexander Gauland of the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD). Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party, welcomed the executive order and called upon his country to replicate it, as did Matteo Salvini of Italy’s Lega Nord and Italian Senator Maurizio Gasparri.
2017 French presidential candidate and frontrunner Marine Le Pen supported the executive order, pointing out that many Muslim-majority countries have a permanent travel ban against Israeli citizens, whereas Trump’s executive order is a temporary measure.
Jihadist and Islamic terrorist groups celebrated the executive order as a victory, saying that “the new policy validates their claim that the United States is at war with Islam.” ISIL-linked social media postings “compared the executive order to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which Islamic militant leaders at the time hailed as a ‘blessed invasion’ that ignited anti-Western fervor across the Islamic world.”
On January 28, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqis who were detained at New York‘s John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 27, hours after the order was signed. The lawsuit said that the executive order was in violation of procedural due process under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Convention Against Torture, the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) also said that it planned to file a lawsuit.
On January 28 at about 9:00 p.m. EST, Ann Donnelly, a District Judge from the Eastern District of New York, blocked part of the order, ruling that refugees, naturalized citizens, visa holders, and green-card holders from the seven affected countries could not be sent back to their home countries. Donnelly was acting her capacity as miscellaneous duty judge, and the case was assigned to Judge Carol Bagley Amon the following Monday, along with other related cases in the same district. The decision covers airport detainees and those already in transit, estimated to number between 100 and 200. Although the court found a “strong likelihood” that the enforcement of the order violated the detainees’ constitutional rights, the court did not address whether the order is facially constitutional. The stay will be in effect until a hearing scheduled for February 21.
Similar stays have been issued in other cases, by Virginia Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema in Aziz v. Trump and Washington Federal Judge Thomas Zilly.
On January 29 at 1:51 a.m. EST, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Dein ordered that the same group of people shall not be detained or removed, and explicitly applied the same protections to U.S. permanent residents. Specially, the order barred the detention of those “who, absent the Executive Order, would be legally authorized to enter the United States”. Further, the judges ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to notify airlines with flights arriving at Logan Airport of the court order and “the fact that individuals on these flights will not be detained or returned based solely on the basis of the Executive Order”. This court order restores the ability for lawful immigrants from the seven barred nations to enter the U.S. through Logan Airport.
Lawyers representing the affected travelers said on January 29 that some authorities were unwilling to follow the judge’s ruling, citing the refusal of Border Patrol agents at Washington Dulles Airport to allow attorneys to communicate with detainees in violation of a district judges’ ruling that required such access. Many detainees were held for hours without access to family, friends, or legal assistance.
The state of Washington is filing a legal challenge to the executive order and the state has the support of Amazon.com Inc. and Expedia Inc.
On February 1, District Judge André Birotte Jr. in the Central District of California issued a preliminary injunction in a case brought on behalf of 28 Yemeni immigrants suspended in transit to the US as a result of the executive order. The ruling, worded to apply more broadly than to the case’s plaintiffs alone, said that anyone “from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen with a valid immigrant visa” be allowed to enter the United States. However, as a State Department official had previously issued a memo “provisionally” revoking all immigrant visas in the wake of Trump’s issuing of the executive order, it was unclear whether the ruling would in practice apply to anyone.
Lawsuits against the immigration policy of Donald Trump
Executive Order 13769, signed by U.S. President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017, has been the subject of multiple ongoing legal challenges in the United States federal courts.
In the two days after the executive order was signed, more than 30 federal cases challenging it were filed in federal court.Plaintiffs challenging the order argue that it contravenes the United States Constitution, federal statutes, or both. Several federal district judges have granted preliminary injunctive relief to challengers of the order, blocking portions of the executive order (but not all of it) from going into effect. The parties challenging the executive order include both private individuals who were blocked from entering the U.S. or detained following the executive order’s issuance, and the State of Washington, represented by its state attorney general.
After the executive order was signed, the acting attorney general of the United States, Sally Yates, directed the U.S. Department of Justice not to present arguments in court in defense of the executive order, writing in a memorandum that she was not convinced that the order was lawful. Trump responded by firing Yates and publicly denouncing her in a “scorched-earth” statement.
Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on January 27, 2017. The order barred aliens from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 guarantees that “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence” 8 U.S.C. §1152(a)(1)(A). The act also ensures that “[a]ny alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States…irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum…” 8 U.S.C. §1158(a)(1).
Acting Attorney General statement and firing
White House Press Release regarding Yates
On January 30, 2017, acting United States Attorney General Sally Yates told Justice Department lawyers not to defend litigation involving President Trump’s immigration order banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world. She stated in a memo on January 30, 2017, she does not believe the order is lawful.
President Trump subsequenty fired Yates, following her public statements she did not believe the executive order was lawful, accusing her of partisan politics. Later that day, the Trump administration replaced her with Dana Boente, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. In a statement released by the White House, Yates’ move was characterized as betraying the Department of Justice and being “weak on borders”.
Aziz v. Trump
Aziz v. Trump, No. 1:17-cv-00116 (E.D.Va. 2017), is a case currently pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia concerning the executive order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States and the detention of 50–60 individuals at the Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia from countries listed in the order.
On the day Trump signed the executive order, 50–60 individuals at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They were blocked from meeting with their attorneys or from applying for asylum.
On January 28, 2017, Tareq Aqel Mohammed Aziz, Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz, Aqel Muhammad Aziz, and John Does 1-60 filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, requesting a writ of habeas corpus and declaratory and injunctive relief after being detained at Dulles International Airport by Customs Officers. They alleged six causes of action in their original petition, denial of procedural due process, anti-establishment of religion (claims they are being targeted because they are Muslim), The Immigration and Nationality Act, Equal Protection, Administrative Procedure Act, and Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Temporary restraining order
On January 28, 2017, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued a temporary restraining order enjoining President Donald Trump and the other respondents from enforcing of parts of Trump’s executive order. The Court stated in its order that Customs officials “… shall permit lawyers access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport …” and that Customs officers “… are forbidden from removing … lawful permanent residents at Dulles International Airport for a period of 7 days from the issuance of this Order. The court has neither let the affected people into the country nor ruled on the constitutionality of the order itself in its ruling.
Non-compliance with court order
On January 28, 2017, the United States Customs and Border Protection agency (“CBP”) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (“MWAA”) defied a court order issued that evening by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia requiring that attorneys be granted access to travelers at Dulles Airport detained by CBP agents. By 10:30 pm that night, CBP and MWAA had copies of the order in hand, and repeatedly refused to comply on orders from the CBP. The MWAA Vice President and Airport Manager for Dulles International and the MWAA Deputy Chief of Police both refused to provide the legally required attorney access, despite confirming that they had the codes necessary to open the doors to the location where CBP was detaining individuals based on President Trump’s executive order. At approximately midnight, United States Senator Cory Booker, with a copy of the access Order in hand, was rejected access himself and for any of the attorneys present. As of late Sunday morning, a border agent told lawyers that agents have been instructed not to speak with them. Lawyers at Dulles stated they are currently considering motions to hold the government in contempt and to compel disclosure of any individuals who are being detained.
On January 29, 2017, several members of Congress traveled to Dulles Airport and demanded that Dulles MWAA Police officers allow them to at least speak to customs officials – Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly (Va.), Don Beyer (Va.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), and John Delaney (Md.). Connolly formally requested access to the detainees from MWAA Police, including Chief Deputy Damsky, and CBP and his request was denied. Connolly reportedly demanded, “Your job is to enforce the law, We have a federal judge who has ruled that anybody being detained is entitled to legal representation. Have they been denied that right or are they in fact getting legal representation?” Connolly was handed a phone with the CBP congressional liaison office on the line during his altercation with Airport Police. Connolly later reported that “he tried to get a straight answer from them but got nowhere”.
Amended Legal Complaint and CrowdFunding
On January 30, 2017, the Legal Aid Justice Center (“LAJC”) filed an amended complaint against Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, John Kelly (Secretary of DHS), Kevin McAleenan (Acting Commissioner of CBP), Wayne Bioni (CBP Port Director of the Area Port of Washington Dulles), and eight unnamed CBP agents at Dulles Airport. The amended complaint further details the circumstances surrounding the Aziz brothers’ detainment and treatment and asks for the US Government to allow everyone deported from Dulles as a result of Trump’s executive order to return to the US and have their immigration status restored.
In conjunction with the campaign, the LAJC announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign designed to support the legal expenses related to Aziz v. Trump.
Darweesh v. Trump
Darweesh v. Trump, No. 1:17-cv-00480 (E.D.N.Y. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, challenges the validity of the executive order. On January 28, 2017, the court granted a temporary emergency stay halting parts of the order. The court has neither let the affected people into the country nor ruled on the constitutionality of the order itself.
On the day Trump signed the executive order, Hameed Darweesh and Haider Alshawi landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport and were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They were forbidden from meeting with their attorneys or applying for asylum. Darweesh served in Iraq for over a decade as an interpreter on behalf of the United States Army 101st Airborne and 91st Engineering Unit and as an electrician and contractor.
On January 28, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a civil action against President Trump, alleging that his executive order barring citizens of specific countries from entry into the United States is in violation of procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution; the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965; The Convention Against Torture; the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998; and the Administrative Procedure Act by denying foreign nationals who possess validly issued visas the right to enter the United States. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment and an injunction directed at President Trump, and a writ of habeas corpus ordering the release of any person currently detained as a result of President Trump’s executive order barring entry into the United States from predominantly Muslim countries.
Class action certification
On January 28, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion asking the US District Court to certify the case as a class action lawsuit and asked the Court to certify class status for all persons affected by President Trump’s Executive Order. The motion stated “… Petitioners and the proposed class, by and through their attorneys, hereby respectfully move this Court for an order certifying a representative class of Petitioners, pursuant to United States ex rel. Sero v. Preiser, 506 F.2d 1115 (2d Cir. 1974). Petitioners ask this Court to certify a class consisting of all individuals with refugee applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen legally authorized to enter the United States, but who have been or will be denied entry to the United States on the basis of the January 27, 2017 Executive Order. …”.
Partial stay of executive order
On January 28, 2017, Ann Donnelly, a Brooklyn federal judge, issued an emergency stay that temporarily blocks the U.S. government from sending people out of the country after they have landed at a U.S. airport with valid visas. The stay was granted following the filing of an Emergency Motion to Stay President Trump’s Executive Order by the ACLU attorneys who are opposing removal of their clients from the United States. The Court ruled that a stay was warranted since the Plaintiff’s habeas petitions were pending review before the Court.
Related E.D.N.Y. lawsuits
In addition to Darweesh, there are 14 other Petitions for Habeas Corpus pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, filed over the Jan. 28–29 weekend:
|E.D.N.Y. Related Lawsuits
||Alkanfushe v. Trump et al.
||Al Saeedi v. Trump et al.
||Sabounchi v. Trump et al.
||Alqaissi et al. v. Trump et al.
||Abushamma v. Trump et al.
||Rashekhi v. Trump et al.
||Jalayer v. Trump et al.
||Narges v. Trump et al.
||Ahmed v. Trump et al.
||Emamjomeh et al. v. Trump et al.
||Hatahet v. Trump et al.
||Fasihianifard v. Trump et al.
||Alinejad v. Trump et al.
||Lin v. Kelly et al.
Doe v. Trump
Doe v. Trump, No. 2:17-cv-00126 (W.D.Wash. 2017), is a case currently pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington concerning the executive order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States and the detention of individuals at Sea-Tac Airport in Washington from countries listed in the order.
On January 27, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order, Protecting the Nation From Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals, barring aliens from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days. Later that day, Plaintiffs at Sea-Tac Airport in Washington were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
On January 28, 2017, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, requesting a writ of habeas corpus and declaratory and injunctive relief after being detained at Sea-Tac Airport by Customs Officers. They alleged four causes of action in their original petition, denial of procedural due process, Statutory Violations of The Immigration and Nationality Act, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, Equal Protection, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Temporary stay of removal
On January 29, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary stay of removal directed to Donald Trump, which prohibited removal from the US of any of the Plaintiffs to the action. The stay is set to expire on February 3, 2017.
Mohammed v. United States
|Mohammed v. Trump
|United States District Court for the Central District of California
|Full case name
||BADR DHAIFALLAH AHMED MOHAMMED; YOUSEF BADR DHAIFALLAH AHMED MOHAMED; MAHA ABDULHAMEED MOHAMMED ALMAWRI; MURAD KHALED ALI; WALEED MUSAED QASEM MOHAMMED; MAGED WALEED MUSAED QASEM; ANWAR SALEH NAGI; RIFAQ ANWAR SALEH NAGI ALEAZZALI; KHALED ANWAR NAGI ALEAZZALI; ASHAWQ MOHAMMED AYEDH AHMED; SABA ALI ALI SAAED; YOUSEF AHMED MOHAMED SAAD; NAWAR AHMED MOHAMED SAAD; IBRAHIM AHMED MOHAMED SAAD; MOHAMED AHMED MOHAMED SAAD; ABDULATEF ABDO MUTHANNA HAILAN; DIYAZAN ALI SAEED; SAHAR SALEM AHMED; NASLAH H A SAEED; ALI MOHSEN SAEED; SAIF DIYAZAN ALI MOHSEN; SARAH FADEL MUTHANA SAIF; OMAR ALI MOHSEN MURSHED; BASSAM ALI MOHSEN MURSHED; NADHRA SALEH ALZEER; MUHRAH MOHSEN SALEH MOQBEL SALEH; QASEM ABDULRAHMAN SALEM AL-HASANI; MUNA O AL SAKKAF, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE; UNITED STATES CUSTOMS AND BORDER PATROL; DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America; DANA J. BOENTE, in his official capacity as the Acting Attorney General of the United States; JOHN KELLY, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; LORI SCIALABBA, Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; KEVIN K. McALEENAN, in his official capacity as Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Defendants.
Mohammed v. United States, No. 2:17-cv-00786 (C.D. Cal. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Sarsour v. Trump
|Sarsour v. Trump
|United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
|Full case name
||LINDA SARSOUR, RASHIDA TLAIB, ZAHRA BILLOO, NIHAD AWAD,COREY SAYLOR,DAWUD WALID, BASIM ELKARRA, HUSSAM AYLOUSH, HASSAN SHIBLY, ALIA SALEM, ADAM SOLTANI, IMRAN SIDDIQI, JULIA SHEARSON, NAMIRA ISLAM, KAREN DABDOUB, JOHN DOE NO. 1-10, JANE DOE NO. 1-2, Plaintiffs, v. Donald J. Trump, in his official capacity as President of the United States of America, et al., Defendants
Sarsour v. Trump or CAIR v. Trump, No. 1:17-cv-00120 (E.D.Va. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, challenges the validity of the order.
On January 30, 2017 The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, held a news conference in Washington, D.C. and announced the filing of a federal lawsuit on behalf of individuals challenging the constitutionality of President Trump’s recent executive order. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the executive order is unconstitutional because it targets and is discriminatory towards Muslims.
On January 30, 2017, Linda Sarsour, et al. filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, requesting declaratory and injunctive relief and alleging religious discrimination on basis the executive order targets Muslims. They alleged four causes of action in their original petition, anti-establishment of religion (claims they are being targeted because they are Muslim), Free Exercise (claiming they are being burdened in the exercise of their religion), violation of due process rights, and violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the executive order violates the Constitution and an Injunction staying its affect.
State of Washington v. Trump
State of Washington v. Trump, No. 2:17-cv-00141 (W.D.Wash. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, challenges the validity of the order.
On January 30, 2017, the State of Washington — represented by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, with the support of Governor Jay Inslee,filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, against Trump and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The state’s suit asked the court for declaratory relief (a declaration that the executive order violates the Constitution) and injunctive relief (to block enforcement of the executive order). The state also filed a motion for temporary restraining order, seeking an immediate halt to the executive order’s implementation.
Washington state alleges nine causes of action in its original complaint: (1) that the executive order violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by denying the equal protection of the laws; (2) that the executive order violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by preferring one religion over another; (3) that the executive order violates the Fifth Amendment right to procedural due process; (4) that the executive order’s discriminatory visa procedures violate the Immigration and Nationality Act; (5) that the denial of asylum and withholding of removal violate the Immigration and Nationality Act; (6) that the executive order violates federal statutory law implementing the United Nations Convention against Torture; (7) that the executive order violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; (8) that the executive order is a procedural violation of the Administrative Procedure Act; and (9) that the executive order is a substantive violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Louhghalam et al v. Trump
Louhghalam v. Trump, No. 17-cv-10154 (D.Mass. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, challenges the executive order. The suit arose from the detention of individuals at Logan International Airport in Massachusetts from countries listed in the order.
On the day Trump signed the executive order, Plaintiffs at Logan International Airport in Boston were detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
On January 28, 2017, Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and Arghavan Louhghalam were detained at Logan International Airport by Customs Officers. Tootkaboni and Louhghalam, a married couple, are both engineering professors at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth who hold doctorates from Johns Hopkins University. They are Iranian nationals who are lawful permanent residents of the United States (i.e., Green Card holders). They had flown from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris back to Massachusetts after finishing a weeklong conference on sustainable engineering held in Marseille. The professors were released after being detained for about three hours.
After being detained, Tootkaboni and Louhghalam, represented by the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the ACLU of Massachusetts, filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. They raised five causes of action in their original petition: (1) denial of procedural due process; (2) violation of the freedom of religion protections of the First Amendment (Tootkaboni and Louhghalam allege that they were singled out because they are Muslim); (3) violation of the Equal Protection Clause; (4) violation of the Administrative Procedure Act; and (5) violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
Temporary restraining order
The temporary restraining order in Louhghalam v. Trump was issued on January 29, 2017.
On January 29, 2017, U.S. District Judge Allison Dale Burroughs and Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) directed to defendant Trump, which prohibited removal from the United States of any person with a valid visa, someone awarded refugee status, or lawful permanent residents, and that any secondary screening process must comply with 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(13)(c).
The order barred the detention of those “who, absent the Executive Order, would be legally authorized to enter the United States.” Further, the judges ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to notify airlines with flights arriving at Logan Airport of the court order and “the fact that individuals on these flights will not be detained or returned based solely on the basis of the Executive Order.”
The TRO is set to expire seven days after issuance; a hearing will be held by the court before the TRO expires.
San Francisco v. Trump
City and County of San Francisco v. Trump or San Francisco v. Trump, No. 3:17-cv-00485 (N.D.Cal. 2017), currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, challenges executive order 13768 on the grounds it violates the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
On January 31, 2017 the City and County of San Francisco filed a civil action challenging executive order 13768 on the grounds that it violates the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution with regard to State Sovereignty. San Francisco sued the Trump administration over the executive order requiring the federal government to withhold money from so-called sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal prosecution. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California alleges that Trump’s order violates the Tenth Amendment, which states that powers not explicitly given to the federal government by the constitution are reserved for the states.
The civil suit alleges three causes of action (1) Declaratory Relief – San Francisco complies with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, (2) 10th Amendement – 8 U.S.C. § 1373(a) is unconstitutional, and (3) 10th Amendment – Executive Order Section 9(A) enforcement directive is unconstitutional. The suit seeks a Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief holding that, (1) 8 U.S.C. § 1373(a) is unconstitutional and invalid on its face; (2) Enjoin Defendants from enforcing Section 1373(a) or using it as a condition for receiving federal funds; (3) Declare that Section 8 U.S.C. § 1373(a) is invalid as applied to state and local Sanctuary City laws, (4) Enjoin Defendants from enforcing Section 1373(a) against jurisdictions that enact Sanctuary City laws for legitimate local purposes; (5) Declare that San Francisco complies with Section 8 U.S.C. § 1373; (6) Enjoin Defendants from designating San Francisco as a jurisdiction that fails to comply with Section 8 U.S.C. § 1373; (7) Enjoin unconstitutional applications of the Enforcement Directive in Executive Order Section 9(a).
Unlike other suits brought in United States District Courts across the United States challenging the executive order, this suit challenges Executive Order 13768 and is the first one to challenge the executive order on the basis of State’s Rights for Sanctuary Cities.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has expressed the view that the executive order violates international human rights law. Some legal scholars believe that the executive order breaches the United States’ obligations as a party to both the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva Refugee Convention) and the United Nations Convention against Torture. The latter treaty imposes an absolute duty upon state parties “not to return a person to a state where they may face torture or other serious harms.” In a telephone call with Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed the view of the German government that Trump’s executive order ran counter to the duties of all signatory states to the Geneva Refugee Convention “to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds.”
Department of Homeland Security official statement
The Department of Homeland Security Issued the following statement on January 29, 2017:
“Upon issuance of the court orders yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with our partners in the Departments of Justice and State to implement President Trump’s executive order on protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law. We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected. As Secretary Kelly previously stated, in applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations. We are and will remain in compliance with judicial orders. We are and will continue to enforce President Trump’s executive order humanely and with professionalism. DHS will continue to protect the homeland.”
White House Press Release regarding Sally Yates
In response to the lawsuits, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on January 29 saying that that it would continue to enforce all of the executive order and that “prohibited travel will remain prohibited”, noting that “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”. On the same day, a White House spokesperson said that the rulings did not undercut the executive order, and that “All stopped visas will remain stopped. All halted admissions will remain halted. All restricted travel will remain prohibited.”On January 30, then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama administration appointee holding the position until the confirmation of Jeff Sessions, barred the Justice Department from defending the executive order in court. According to Yates, the department’s Office of Legal Counsel conducted a review of the order in order to determine if it was “lawful on its face”, but she said that the review did not address the order’s effects, which she felt were not in keeping “with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right”. She went on further to say that, regardless of the Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion, she was not “convinced that the executive order is lawful”. After coming out against Trump’s refugee ban, however, Trump quickly relieved her of her duties, calling her statement a “betrayal” to the administration. He replaced her with Dana J. Boente, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. In addition, acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Daniel Ragsdale was replaced with Thomas Homan soon after Yates’s removal. This leadership alteration became known as the Monday Night Massacre.
In response to the firing of Yates and the demotion of Ragsdale, a bipartisan group of more than 70 former federal prosecutors — including 50 who had served under a Republican administration — defended the decision of the former acting Attorney General. In their statement, they said:
Struck by one stunning headline after another, we stopped to think: if we were called upon to defend the Executive Order, could we do it within the guidelines we learned and lived by as lawyers for the United States? We could not. We could not candidly tell a court, consistent with these principles, that the Executive Order is not, in fact, a thinly veiled attempt to exclude Muslims from certain countries based on their religion. We could not candidly tell a court that the United States has the right to turn away refugees fleeing grave danger, even though they have already been fully vetted and approved for admission. We could not candidly tell a court, consistent with these principles, that the United States has the right to bar admission to people who are otherwise lawfully permitted to enter the United States, based solely on the fact that others of their religion are perceived to be potential security threats. We could not candidly tell a court that the United States has the right to detain or forcibly return people who have lawfully traveled here, based solely on their religion and country of origin. If asked whether the language of the Executive Order would permit the President to give preference to Christians over Muslims for admission to the United States, a position the President has publicly expressed, we would have to say, yes, the language would allow that. If asked whether such a religious preference comports with our Constitution, we would have to say we do not believe so.
Not all responders were supportive of Yates, however. Journalist Gregg Jarrett of Fox News applauded the removal, saying that Yates had “committed an egregious violation of ethical standards and a serious breach of her duties” and “deserved to get canned.” Jack Goldsmith, a former US Assistant Attorney General, said:
If Yates feels this way, she should have resigned. Instead, she wrote a letter that appears to depart sharply from the usual criteria that an Attorney General would apply in deciding whether to defend an EO in court. As such, the letter seems like an act of insubordination that invites the President to fire her. Which he did.