By James Evans
Call it “extreme vetting.” Call it an “immigration ban.” Or simply, call it “monumental.”
Executive order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” was signed into action by newly inaugurated President Trump on Jan. 27, 2017. The order, which, citing the lack of proper vetting prior to Sept. 11, restricted entry for 90 days for individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
The order also limits the number of refugees allowed into the United States, temporarily bans all Syrian refugees (from the seven countries listed) and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for 120 days. Lastly, after the reinstatement of the refugee program, religious minority groups such as Christians and Jews will take precedence in the admittance process, on the basis of religious persecution.
Since the order was signed, protests, punditry and policy have underscored what many believed would inevitably be a contentious first 100 days of Trump’s presidency. However, the ensuing backlash and recent legal battle has limited the order’s enactment on a federal level.
As of publishing, the order has been put on a temporary hold by Washington State federal judge James Robart, with the order being allegedly in violation of multiple federal clauses, acts and constitutional amendments. When Trump tried to get this hold overturned (thus, allowing enforcement of the order), he was denied by a three-judge panel on Feb. 9. Therefore, the order is still on hold until further legal proceedings take place. If the order does subsequently become enacted and enforceable, the ramifications for many in this country, and possibly some on DeSales University’s campus, could be great.
In regards to Trump’s numerous references to Sept. 11 on the order, the non-alternative facts are that none of the 19 hijackers were from the seven countries listed. In fact, since 9/11, there has not been a single, deadly terrorist attack committed in America by an individual from the listed nations.
According to writer Uri Friedman of The Atlantic, the majority of America’s terrorists, since 1975, have come from four countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. Combined, there have been almost 3,000 deaths on American soil from those four nations, as committed by terrorists. However, none of those four countries appear on Trump’s list.
Many pundits, including legal scholar David G. Post, have speculated that the omitted countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, were purposefully omitted because of Trump’s alleged business holdings in those countries. Ultimately, this allegation cannot be truly investigated until Trump releases his tax returns.
Following the order, there was widespread confusion at many state department levels about how to enforce the ban on a practical level. This lead to a tumultuous weekend from Friday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 29 as many people who are lawfully permitted to be in the U.S., such as green card holders and those with dual citizenship, were detained or turned away while arriving at airports, including two Syrian families from Allentown, PA. Protests soon sprang up all over the country, with many politicians from both parties decrying the ban as poorly executed, unlawful or both.
Dr. Tahereh Hojjat, an economics professor at DeSales, has extensive ties to one of the banned countries in Trump’s order, Iran. Having studied at Tehran University in Iran for her undergraduate degree, before coming to the United States to get her doctorate from Lehigh University, Hojjat is in the unique position of being on the outside looking in after President Trump’s order.
When asked about the security impact of the order, Hojjat responded saying, “When U.S. [officials] request information from the Iranian Government, they won’t provide the information to the U.S, as they are now ideologically opposed to sharing information with Washington. Now, many citizens will be cut off from visiting relatives, who are among the established one million Iranians-Americans living in America.”
With the ensuing controversy and legal battle surrounding the executive order, there will certainly be more to come from this story. However, in closing, Hojjat believes the ban has greatly “…misjudged American values and their respect for human rights.” And with so many protests, lawsuits and legal injunctions, one cannot help but agree that there was certainly a miscalculation on behalf of the Trump Administration with this order.