Americans have always been prideful on the fact that they live in “The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”. But, there may be people living here that aren’t as free as they think. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from seven different countries from the Middle East, and people are furious.
The typical process of how a bill becomes a law is very tedious. It starts with an idea and usually ends with the president either signing the bill and finalizing it, or vetoing it and causing the bill to die. In between, however, there is a long process of committee and subcommittee work, along with voting in Congress.
If at any point in this process a bill is disagreed on or doesn’t meet requirements, it dies. The checks and balances on our government are there to make sure one branch doesn’t pass anything without the approval of the other branches. But, there is a way for the president to pass a temporary law without the approval of the legislative or judicial branches.
An executive order helps the president pass temporary legislation without the consent of the other two branches. However, it’s only temporary unless the courts decide to keep it and reinstate it.
This is not the case for Donald Trump.
On January 27, 2017, Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. It also banned entry for 90 days from Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and Iraq in an attempt to create a stronger vetting process for incoming refugees.
No one from these countries were allowed to board flights into America and people who were on flights while the order was signed were detained as they arrived, even people with green cards or visas.
In the days that followed, protests were happening at airports all over the country. Casey Neistat, a filmmaker from New York City filmed a protest at JFK airport. Thousands of people were marching up and down the terminals with signs protesting the ban.
The New York Times cited at least 40 different protests across the country, and even more that stretched across the globe.
In a poll done of Central Dauphin students and people around Central Pennsylvania, out of 171 people, just 27% said they supported the ban while the rest all said they didn’t support the ban, some saying it’s “…extremely unjust and wrong” while the opposing claims that the TSA and administration were just doing their jobs to protect the people.
On February 9, 2017, a federal appeals panel in Washington in a unanimous vote rejected Trump’s wishes to reinstate the ban. According to the New York Times, the three-judge panel said the executive order didn’t do anything to help national security and there wasn’t any information to prove that the threat of terrorism would be lowered by banning refugees from these countries.
That night, Donald Trump tweeted out, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
On February 10, James L. Robart, a federal district judge blocked parts of the ban and allowed thousands of refugees into the country from these countries in the following week.
However, there is one aspect of the executive order that wasn’t affected by the court’s ruling. There will still be a cap on 50,000 refugees being allowed into the country during the 2017 fiscal year. This is down from the 110,000 that the Obama Administration had originally set in place.
As of February 14, 2017, federal courts still refuse to reinstate the travel ban on the basis that it violates the first amendment right of freedom of religion in The Constitution.
In an interview with BBC, Judge Leonie Brinkema, a Virginia Federal Circuit Judge who ruled on the case says “Maximum power does not mean absolute power. Every presidential action must still comply with the limits set” by the separation of powers laid out in the US Constitution.