President Trump signed on Friday an executive order that severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely. The order has been widely criticized and praised. Here’s what it does and doesn’t do.
Who is not affected?
Anyone with U.S. citizenship—whether that person in natural-born or naturalized.
Who is affected?
For 120 days, the order bars the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S. It also prohibits all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. until further notice. Additionally, it bans the citizens of seven countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering the U.S. on any visa category. This appears to include those individuals who are permanent residents of the U.S. (green-card holders) who may have been traveling overseas to visit family or for work—though their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, a senior administration official said Saturday.
The order also targets individuals of those countries who hold dual citizenship with another country. For instance, an individual who holds both Iraqi and Canadian citizenships.
It does not apply to individuals who hold U.S. citizenship along with citizenship of another country.
Why were those seven countries chosen?
The U.S. allows the citizens of more than 30 countries to visit for short stays without a visa under a visa-waiver program. But that visa waiver does not apply if a citizen of an eligible country has visited—with some exceptions—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011. Those individuals must apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate. These seven countries are listed under section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) of the U.S. code, and it is this code that Trump’s executive order cited while banning citizens of those nations.
What is the impact?
The number of permanent residents from these countries is relatively small. For instance, 1,016,518 green cards were issued in 2014. Of these, 19,153 went to Iraqis and 11,615 to Iranians, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s data. These two countries make up the overwhelming majority of U.S. permanent residents from among the seven nations, which together have 500,000 permanent resident in the U.S., according to ProPublica. But the seven nations, as I reported this week, also account for 40 percent of the U.S. refugee intake.
Technically, no. The ban includes seven majority Muslim countries, but by no means are these states the most populous Muslim countries, nor are they among the top sources of Muslim immigration to the U.S., nor have they produced terrorists in the same numbers as other Muslim countries not on the list. Indeed, Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other countries can still visit the U.S.
Still, advocacy groups challenging the order say a Muslim ban is precisely what it amounts to.
“What we’ve seen here is stunning,” David Leopold, a Cleveland-based immigration lawyer who is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said on a conference call with reporters. “No president ever ever has used the authority and statute of the law to ban people based on their religion, ban people based on their nationality.”
He said President Carter’s ban on Iranians in 1980 after the Islamic revolution “barred certain classifications, not the whole country.”
Is there legal action?
Trump has broad discretion under the law to bar a class of person deemed detrimental to the U.S. from entering the country. Leopold said the issue will have to be resolved by the courts.
Indeed, the ACLU filed a legal challenge on behalf of the two Iraqis who were detained at JFK Airport Saturday seeking to have the men released. The group also filed what’s known as a motion for class certification, which would allow it to represent others who say they were detained at airports and other ports of entry to the U.S. But there may be challenges ahead.
“The problem we’ve got there,” Leopold said, “ is that this is unprecedented.”
Source : The Atlantic