by: Roman Sarangoulis
With the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump’s Executive Order established a ban on immigrants seeking refuge in America. The Executive Order will be suspending the entry of all refugees attempting to enter the United States for 120 days. Syrian refugees specifically will be barred indefinitely, and entry into the United States will be blocked for 90 for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim Countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Trump and his administration claim that the Order serves to protect the American people from terrorist attacks and uphold national security. Presumably, while the refugees and immigrants are barred from entering the United States, the Federal Government will use this extra time to conduct in-depth vetting of individuals to determine if they have any ties to terrorist organizations. While it is typically true that the president has wide discretion when determining matters of immigration and national security, many have felt that Trump’s order violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution because it seems to discriminate against Muslims. The effects of the Executive Order were felt immediately by many. In places like Istanbul and Dubai, travelers were turned away at the airport, not allowing individuals to board their flights to the United States. In at least one instance, a family was removed from an airplane after they had already boarded.
In an attempt to block Trump’s Executive Order, several courts around the nation have granted Temporary Restraining Orders to preserve the status quo while there is a determination on whether or not the ban is constitutional. Most notably, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals initially granted a four-page Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) on Trump’s Executive Order, which essentially placed a freeze on any actions from occurring.
In the time following the initial TRO, the Ninth Circuit again rejected the government’s argument that the Executive Order was in place for national security. The court came to its conclusion in a 3-0 decision. The court’s decision to freeze the ban clearly upset Trump who tweeted just after the ruling was announced, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” While the Court did not hold that the ban disfavored Muslims, it did grant the plaintiff essentially what they were asking for because the ban is still on hold. This ruling will not be the end of the issue. Trump will still continue to push back against the Ninth Circuit to enforce his Executive Order. A potential issue may arise in the near future when determining what will happen next.
Typically, when there is an issue concerning immigration or nation security, the Justice Department may ask the Supreme Court to defer the matter to the President. If the Supreme Court does defer the issue to the President, clearly the ban will continue. However, if the Supreme Court does hear the issue, the result may be a split decision. With only eight Justices sitting currently sitting on the Court, which are ideologically split 4-4, there may be no majority.
 Michael D. Shear, Trump Bars Refugees and Citizens of 7 Muslim Countries, New York Times (lasted visited Feb. 9, 2017), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/27/us/politics/trump-syrian-refugees.html.
 Alan Gomez, Experts Question Legality of Trump’s Immigration Ban on Muslim Countries, USA Today (last visited Feb. 12, 2017), available at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/28/experts-question-legality-trumps-ban-muslim-countries/97189982/.
 Matt Zapotosky, Federal appeals court maintains suspension of Trump’s immigration order (last visited Feb. 9, 2017), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/federal-appeals-court-maintains-suspension-of-trumps-immigration-order/2017/02/09/e8526e70-ed47-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.998113f0603f.
 Michael D. Shear, et al., Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide, (last visited Feb 9, 2017), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/us/refugees-detained-at-us-airports-prompting-legal-challenges-to-trumps-immigration-order.html.
 Nicholas Kulish, et al., Court Temporarily Blocks Trump’s Travel Ban, and Airlines Are Told to Allow Passengers (last visited Feb 9, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/us/visa-ban-legal-challenge.html.
 Matt Zapotosky, Federal appeals court maintains suspension of Trump’s immigration order (last visited Feb 9, 2017), available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/federal-appeals-court-maintains-suspension-of-trumps-immigration-order/2017/02/09/e8526e70-ed47-11e6-9662-6eedf1627882_story.html?utm_term=.998113f0603f.