On Friday, January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning all citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, and Yemen and suspending all admission of any refugees from entering the United States for six months and banning all asylum seekers from Syria entering the US until further notice. The order was written hastily. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security was never consulted nor was the Department of Justice. Immediately after the ban was instituted, chaos and confusion ensued at airports where officials did not know whether or not the ban applied to US green-card holders and people with dual citizenship in one of the affected countries and a different country.
Citizens of countries affected by the executive order already must go through a rigorous vetting process in order to get a visa to allow them to enter the United States. The visa process already takes between four and six months for the countries mentioned in the order, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Libya. The application process for people who attempt to enter as refugees is even longer, taking at least 18 months and possibly taking up to two years of rigorous questioning by multiple government agencies in a foreign refugee camp. In addition to this, not a single person from any of the countries implicated in Trump’s executive order has killed a person on American soil in a terrorist attack.
Those affected by the executive order include countless legal residents of the US who are here on student and specialized skilled work (H1B) visas. The ban also included people who were traveling to the US to visit family. Notable cases of these include a Sudanese doctor, here on an H1B, who had gone back to her native Sudan to distribute polio vaccines to impoverished children. Another case was that a Syrian family was detained and questioned for hours with the family’s five-year-old son being separated from his parents for that duration.
At airports all around the country, protesters had come by droves to voice their opposition to the executive order. Hundreds of pro-Bono immigration lawyers gathered to provide their services to those trapped at airports. Many senators and representatives from both parties condemned the Trump’s executive order including republicans, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The American Civil Liberties Union, as well as several other groups, including several Silicon Valley tech companies who rely on workers from any of the affected countries, have strongly urged the order to be repealed. The ACLU has launched lawsuits against the order. The states of Washington and Minnesota have brought a lawsuit against the executive order. The Suit has resulted in the 9th circuit court blocking enforcement of the order. After the court ruling, President Trump expressed that he was angry with the entire court system, stating that “Bad people are pouring in” and that if an attack happens, “blame the so-called judge and the court system.” The administration has appealed the ruling and the 9th circuit court of appeals will hear the case later in the week.