President Trump issued an executive order on refugees and immigrants on Friday that temporarily suspends entry of all refugees, and shuts down immigration “from countries compromised by terrorism,” specifically Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In response—and to the surprise of no one—the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a class lawsuit against Trump’s executive action.
As he promised he would do on the campaign trail, Trump took steps this week to clamp down on immigration and impose “a more rigorous vetting process.” Via executive order, Trump suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days, foreign nationals from seven high terror-risk countries for 90 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely. As the New York Times chronicles, Trump’s order—which the Times underscores was accomplished “with the stroke of a pen” (exactly like every one of Obama’s executive orders that the paper never seemed to balk at then)—has already begun to have a significant impact on foreign nationals attempting to make it into the country, reportedly including those with green cards.
Early Saturday, the ACLU, along with other advocacy groups, filed a legal challenge to the order on behalf of two Iraqi men detained on Friday at John F. Kennedy Airport, claiming unlawful detention. “The groups asked that the challenge be given class action status so they can represent all refugees and travelers held up because of Trump’s executive order on Friday,” AFP reports.
In its emotionally charged piece, the Times describes the circumstances surrounding the two men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi:
Shortly after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter who worked on behalf of the United States government in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back and miming handcuffs.
Document: Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Kennedy Airport Detention
“What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Mr. Darweesh said. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”
As of the time the piece was published, Alshawi remained in custody. The Times notes that when an attorney working for the International Refugee Assistance Project asked a border agent who he needed to talk to, the unnamed border agent supposedly said, “Call Mr. Trump.”
One of Trump’s core promises during his campaign was to get immigration under control, including the vetting process for refugees from terror-risk areas, which officials have admitted is grossly inadequate and thus puts Americans at risk . At one point, Trump even infamously floated the idea of a temporary ban on foreign national Muslims due to the threat of radical Islam, a notion he walked back to just refugees from countries “compromised by terrorism.”
Obviously, the left hates the idea, as the Times piece makes more than clear by highlighting sympathetic stories of those unfairly hurt by Trump “slamming the border shut.” Here’s how the piece begins:
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.
Reports rapidly surfaced Saturday morning of students attending American universities who were blocked from getting back into the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. Stanford University was reportedly working to help a Sudanese student return to California.
And thus, the official war over immigration has begun, with Team Trump on one side and the media and the Democrats on the other. Week one of the Trump presidency has included all the controversy, protests, hysteria and outrage, media freakouts, celebrity tirades, and now lawsuits, we anticipated. This is going to be one hell of a ride.
UPDATE: A New York federal judge has blocked Trump’s order as it applies to American green card holders. Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro reports:
Saturday, a New York federal judge issued an order staying President Trump’s executive order restricting immigrants from Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Libya. The order focused not on the importation of future refugees and immigrants, but on American green card holders, current visa-holders, and even citizens caught up in misapplication of the law, apparently at the hands of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and top advisor Stephen Miller, according to CNN. That misapplication has reportedly led to detention of babies who are citizens, as well as legal permanent residents attempting to fly back into the United States.
The judge ruled: “It is hereby ordered that the respondents…are enjoined and restrained from, in any manner or by any means, removing individuals with refugee applications approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the US Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen legally authorized to enter the United States.”
This article has been expanded and revised for clarity and updates.