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by Maria Schneider
On Monday, March 6, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order titled ďProtecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.Ē This Executive Order will go into effect on Thursday, March 16, 2017. Among other provisions, the Executive Order states individuals from six designated countries who are outside the United States and do not currently have a valid visa are not eligible to travel to the United States for 90 days.
Please note that Iraq has been removed from the list of countries effected by this Executive Order. This Executive Order does not apply to:
lawful permanent residents (green card holders)dual nationals who travel to the US on a passport issued by the non-designated countryindividuals who hold a valid visa on the effective date of the Order. No visas will be revoked.foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visasindividuals granted asylum or refugee status in the US before the effective date of the order
The US Department of Homeland Security and US Department of State have discretionary authority to issue visas on a case-by-case basis to nationals of the six named countries when denial of entry would cause undue hardship.
Nationals from countries not named above can travel abroad but should expect additional delays and scrutiny at the airport when re-entering. Please note that the situation is fluid and may change at any time. If you have any questions, please contact our office.
Please read the Musillo Unkenholt Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog at www.musillo.com and www.ilw.com. You can also visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Earlier this week, President Trump issued a new Executive Order ("EO") to replace one of his prior orders, which was largely blocked by the federal courts. The new EO, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, temporarily bans certain nationals of six majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States, suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, and reduces the total number of refugees that the U.S. will resettle in FY 2017. Whether the new ban can withstand court scrutiny, and how it will ultimately effect who can come to our country, remains to be seen.
"My favorite four-letter word."
For those foreigners already in the United States, the new ban has little legal effect. The immigration status of permanent residents, refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers remains essentially untouched. One possible exception is for family members of asylees and refugees who are hoping to come to the U.S. on a Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (form I-730). Such relatives from the six "banned" nations--Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen--may be ineligible for a visa for a 90-day period. However, even this is unclear, as the EO provides a number of exceptions for nationals of banned countries, and such relatives may be entitled to an exception (depending on how you read the EO).
So for non-citizens in the U.S., including those from banned countries, the EO has almost no effect on their legal status here. That's not to say that the EO has no effect--it certainly does. But that effect relates to the message the EO sends and the psychological damage it inflicts on Muslims and on non-citizens. Indeed, for this population, the effects of the anti-terrorism EO are similar to the effects of an actual terrorist attack in certain key ways.
Like a terrorist attack, the number of people directly impacted by the EO is much smaller than the number of people terrorized by it. The new EO is very narrowly tailored, so much so that it almost does not make sense. For example, the Administration claims that vetting for the six banned countries is insufficient. Yet the order allows nationals of those countries who already have visas to come to the United States. If there is a problem with the vetting, shouldn't all the "improperly" vetted visas be revoked? Presumably, the Administration wants to avoid another humiliating defeat in court, but the limited scope of the EO seems to undercut the very rationale for its existence.
On the other hand, if the purpose of the EO is not really to block people from coming here, but rather to frighten people who are already here (Muslim Americans and non-citizens), the limited legal effect is less of a concern. As long as the order stands up in court--and even if it doesn't--Mr. Trump has sent a strong message to the intended audience (really, there are two intended audiences: Mr. Trump's supporters who want to see him fighting against "the others" and "the others" themselves, who feel targeted and excluded by the Administration's policies). In this sense, the EO mirrors a classic terrorist tactic--limited impact (because you have insufficient resources to have a wider impact) with maximum effect (everyone in the targeted population is frightened).
And make no mistake, the EOs and the accompanying rhetoric are affecting their intended targets. Reports indicate that non-citizens and their children are under great stress due to President Trump's words and policies. This stress can have harmful and life-long effects, especially on children. Muslims, including American citizens, have been subject to a barrage of bigoted statements from the President and his surrogates, and they are also suffering from similar types of stress. Some refugees are fleeing the United States, which they now view as unsafe, for Canada. So while the legal effect of the EOs may be small, the harm is very real, and very damaging.
Mr. Trump's EOs are similar to terrorism in another important way: They help create a vicious cycle. Terrorists rarely have the power to conquer territory. Instead, the purpose of their attacks is to draw a response. Unless the response is careful and precise (a rarity), it can cause further alienation and anger, thus driving more people into the terrorists' camp--a vicious cycle. In the case of the EOs, they help justify the narrative that groups like ISIS have been peddling (that the United States is at war with Islam). They also frighten and alienate people living in our country, particularly Muslims and non-citizens. Since alienated and frightened people are more likely to embrace extremism, the EOs are a type of self-fulfilling prophesy: EOs push people towards extremism, extremism justifies more EOs. It's a vicious cycle analogous to the one created by terrorism.
Finally, the EOs do not exist in a vacuum. They are part of a larger campaign to demonize foreigners and Muslims. The whole effort of the Trump Administration towards such people is irresponsible and dangerous. It puts our country at greater risk by encouraging extremism and discouraging cooperation. But unfortunately, this Administration has proved again and again that it will not allow facts to get in the way of ideology, or sound policy advice to contradict prejudice. The new Executive Order is just the latest example of the misguided course our country is now taking. We are all less safe because of it.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
Update, March 8, as of 11:52 am:
The intent to discriminate against Muslim immigrants and visitors because of their religion in Trump's new six country entry ban, which is so obvious as to be beyond dispute, based on the essentially fraudulent nature of Trump's terror justification, as well as the historical record of exclusion of Catholic and Jewish immigrants using similar arguments discussed below, raises serious Constitutional problems concerning freedom of religion for Americans, not only citizens of the six Muslim countries directly affected.
University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner writes:
"The constitutional policy is easy to understand. We might think that a temporary travel ban that burdens people from Muslim countries could be justified, despite unequal treatment on the basis of religion, by even a moderate security risk. We might also think that a travel ban with weak procedural protections could be justified by an emergency. But where the ban both burdens a particular religion and does so without giving people sufficient procedural protections, the security justification must be significant rather than moderate."
My original comment follows:
Donald Trump's new March 6 executive order banning entry by citizens of six (instead of the previous seven - Iraq having been dropped from the list) countries with close to 99 per cent Muslim populations remedies some of the more egregious abuses of the earlier, now revoked January 27 ban, but it does nothing to change the basic premise of the original order that people belonging to the Muslim religion in general pose an inherent danger to the United States and should not be allowed in.
The new order exempts US permanent residents from the ban and provides for waivers in the cases of other immigrants from the affected countries who also have certain ties with the US or urgent reasons for seeking entry, such as medical treatment, but it still blocks an estimated 150 million people in the six countries, almost all of whom just happen to be Muslims, from coming to the United States as visitors or on temporary work or student visas.
This is despite the continued failure of the Trump administration to provide any reliable evidence that citizens of the banned countries have actually been engaged in any acts of terror in the United States, something which seriously undermined any claim of good faith or justified use of presidential discretion in the original order, as was pointed out by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and other federal courts which reviewed that order.
A legal writer for Slate, Dahlia Lithwick, discusses this issue in detail in her article:
Trump's new travel ban is full of bogus evidence and sketchy claims
(I do not have a link - please go to Google to access this story.)
On this issue, I will let her article speak for itself rather than repeating her analysis here.
Instead of being based on any genuine threat to the United States coming citizens of the six listed countries in general, Trump's latest order reflects the same prejudices, scapegoating and demonization of a targeted religious group that led to the exclusion of Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the notorious 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, signed by President Calvin Coolidge.
This law barred almost all immigrants throughout the world (except from North and South America, known as the "Western Hemisphere" in that statute), but instead of explicitly doing so on the grounds of religion or race, it used the pretext of doing so on the basis of "national origins" - exactly as Trump is doing now in order to bar Muslims from the United States.
To give an example, in the 1924 law, the annual immigration quota for Germany, one of the largely Protestant "Nordic" countries favored by the statute, was approximately 50,000. In contrast, the annual quota for Catholic Italy was about 3,000, less than one tenth of the total for Germany.
The annual quota for Russia, where large numbers of Jews resided, was also about 3,000. (I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is likely to discriminate against immigrants from Russia - this could be one big difference from 1924!)
Asian, Middle Eastern and African immigrants were not exactly welcome under the 1924 quota system either. The annual quotas for China, Japan and India, fo example, were exactly 100 immigrants from each country!
No objective analyst or historian of that period could seriously argue that these skewed quotas were motivated by anything other than the most blatant kind of racial and religious prejudices, even though Jeff Sessions, then a Senator and now Trump's attorney general, misleadingly tried to defend the 1924 law as allegedly nothing more than a device to tighten the labor market in favor of American workers in a January, 2015 "Handbook" circulated to fellow Congressional Republicans.
To appreciate the full force of the ethnic and religious scapegoating and prejudices that formed the background of the 1924 immigration act, one has to turn to the work of the Dillingham Commission, led by a fiercely anti-immigrant Republican Senator, Paul Dillingham, which was active from 1907 to 1910, and left behind a monumental 41 volume report issued in or about 1911.
While it is obviously not possible to reproduce the entire report here, I refer readers to a comprehensive summary of its background and conclusions in a 1994 article by John M. Lund entitled
Boundaries of Restriction: The Dillingham Commission
University of Vermont History Review vol. 6. December 1994.
I will discuss the salient features of this report as they relate to Trump's current Muslim ban in my forthcoming comment.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from various parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is email@example.com
Updated 03-08-2017 at 10:52 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
Via The Cato Institute:
Featuring Alex Nowrasteh and Caleb O. Brown
The Trump travel ban covering several majority Muslim countries is a slight improvement, but contains many of the same flaws as the original. Alex Nowrasteh explains.