Tagged: Constitution

What’s in Trump’s Executive Order…What’s an Executive Order?

[Of note: this post was originally a Facebook thing I made on January 29 – news stories are up to date as of THEN. I have not gone through and added/amended, but I am including it here as a reference point for the post that follows.]

HERE IS WHAT FOLLOWS: (1) An overview of executive orders generally; (2) a brief summary of Trump’s immigration/refugee executive order; (3) recent developments; and (4) a more in-depth breakdown of exactly WHAT the order says, section by section. This post is a NOVEL; I’m sorry. There was a lot of important information to wade through. Cheers to anyone who makes it through it!

(1) First of all, to get a handle on all of this, it helps to understand some background on what a presidential executive order is and how it functions.

  • There is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly provides for or creates executive orders.
  • However, the Constitution instructs the president to “take Care that the Law be faithfully executed” in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5, and typically, most executive orders are rooted in this Constitutional reasoning as the authorization for their issuance as part of the President’s sworn duties.
  • The idea behind this is that executive orders are meant to help the direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties, in addition to carrying out the normal operations of the federal government.
  • Executive orders MUST be Constitutional – they must be grounded in either a clause that grants the president a specific power OR in a delegation of power by Congress to the President.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the most executive orders at a whopping 3,522. Most recently, Obama issued 279 during his eight-year tenure (by far not a contender for most issued); Trump has issued 4 as of today, January 29, 2017. (Per the Federal Register’s website.)
  • The Supreme Court may overturn executive orders, as may Congress by (1) passing legislation that invalidates it or (2) refusing to provide funding necessary to carry out the order. The President has the power to veto.
  • However, Congress may also override the veto of legislation invalidating an executive order by means of a 2/3 majority vote.
  • Executive orders require no action by Congress in order to take effect.

(2) The content of Trump’s executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”: It has eleven sections and, as I think we all know at this point, it bars all people hailing from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) from entering the US for at least 90 days. Additionally, the order has stopped the admission of ALL refugees into the US for four months. Finally, it calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program for travelers from 38 countries, including close allies. IT ALSO:

  • Lays the groundwork for a database;
  • Contains language that suggests the prioritization of Christian refugees;
  • Indefinitely prohibits all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., period;
  • Caps refugees entering the U.S. at 50,000;
  • Implements a biometric entry-exit tracking system;
  • • Sets up some seriously creepy information collection and publication of foreign nationals in the U.S. – like what crimes immigrants commit

(3) Some important takeaways –

None of the countries whose citizens have actually be responsible for terrorism on U.S. soil have been banned. Do with that what you will, but also please note that they also happen to be countries with which Trump has strong business ties. Do with THAT what you will. (http://www.npr.org/…/trumps-immigration-freeze-omits-those-…)

Further, refugees coming into this country undergo an INCREDIBLY rigorous screening process and to argue otherwise is to side-step documented fact. (https://www.nytimes.com/…/why-it-takes-two-years-for-syrian…; http://time.com/4116619/syrian-refugees-screening-process/; http://www.usatoday.com/…/syrian-refugees-trump-e…/97043442/; https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/…/infographic-screenin…; http://www.politico.com/…/i-went-through-americas-extreme-v…)

The Pope is calling us out, HARDCORE. (http://usuncut.com/…/pope-francis-cannot-reject-refugees-c…/)

Protests are erupting at airports around the country. (http://www.usatoday.com/…/protests-erupt-us-airpo…/97201416/)

Several Federal judges have issued a stay on the executive order, due to constitutional concerns, but the Department of Homeland Security appears to be ignoring this, in flagrant violation of the law. (http://www.cnn.com/…/2-iraqis-file-lawsuit-after-being-det…/; http://www.businessinsider.com/a-federal-judge-issued-a-sta…; http://www.npr.org/…/arrivals-to-u-s-blocked-and-detained-a…; https://www.dhs.gov/…/department-homeland-security-response…

John McCain and Lindsey Graham are not having it. (http://www.mccain.senate.gov/publ…/index.cfm/press-releases…)

And now it looks like Department of Homeland Security is backing up a bit… Keep fighting! It has an effect. (http://thehill.com/…/316790-kelly-entry-of-lawful-permanent…)

Two Philly-area Republican Representatives have broken with the rank and file and come out against the ban. Word is, they’re catching a lot of flack from the Republican leadership. We should all be applauding them. (http://www.philly.com/…/Two-Philly-area-Republicans-break-w…)

The ACLU is booming. “From Saturday to late Sunday more than 290,000 donors had sent the ACLU $19 million—the organizations typical annual average is $3 million. That figure, as well as the growth in membership, was “unprecedented,” according to Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/todays-news-ja…/514865/14273/…)


THE SECTIONS (I’m summarizing, I suggest reading the full text of the order if you’d like to get it in its full form – http://www.cnn.com/…/text-of-trump-executive-order-nation-…/; https://www.nytimes.com/…/annotating-trump-immigration-refu… – annotation)

SECTION 1: Lays out the purpose of the order. Specifically, it discusses the threat of terror from foreign nationals and further suggests that terrorists will pretend to be refugees in order to infiltrate the country (more on this later). It also states, “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

SECTION 2: Defines the underlying policy: “It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.”

SECTION 3: Suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to “nationals of countries of particular concern.” This section gives instruction to the Department of Homeland Security and bans the entry of people from the seven countries listed above for 90 days. It also states that the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit the names of additional countries whose people should be treated similarly.

SECTION 4: Implements uniform screening standards for all immigration programs. Specifically, “the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.” **If this sounds like an allusion to a database, it is.**

SECTION 5: Suspends the U.S. Refugee Admittance Program for 120 days. Applicants already mid-process may be admitted after completion of revised procedures (which are to be determined by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security). After 120 days, “the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.” ALSO:

  • Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are to prioritize refugee claims made on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in that individual’s country of nationality. **If this sounds like a way to prioritize Christian refugees, you are correct.**
  • Syrian refugees are prohibited from coming to the U.S. until Trump says otherwise.
  • No more than 50,000 refugees may under the U.S. until Trump says otherwise.

SECTION 6: Suggests that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security rescind the exercises of authority in Section 212 of the INA relating to terrorism grounds of inadmissibility. (I’m digging to try to figure out what this means, as the Immigration and Nationalities Act already prohibits those with terrorist ties/past from entering the US.)

SECTION 7: Orders the Secretary of Homeland Security to expedite a BIOMETRIC ENTRY-EXIT TRACKING SYSTEM for all travelers to the U.S., and to submit reports to the President.

SECTION 8: Suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program indefinitely.

SECTION 9: Order Secretary of State to make sure that immigrants’ home countries have reciprocity with the US in terms of a visa’s validity period and fees. If they don’t, then the US will adjust its visa validity period/fee schedule/treatment to match that of the foreign country.

SECTION 10: Order information collection and publication on:

  • Number of foreign nationals in U.S. who have (a) been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the U.S.; (b) removed from the U.S. based on terrorism activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization; or (c) ANY OTHER NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS since the date of the order.
  • Information on the number of foreign nationals in the U.S. who have been radicalized/engaged in terrorism-related activities, provided support to terrorism-related organizations.
  • Information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings, in the U.S. by foreign nationals.
  • ANY OTHER INFORMATION (how vague) relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, INCLUDING INFORMATION ON THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF FOREIGN NATIONALS CHARGED WITH MAJOR OFFENSES.

SECTION 11: Lays out the parameters of the law of the order.