President Trump has imposed a controversial 90-day ban on travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  On January 27th, Trump signed the order banning travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days.  Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized.

The result was widespread confusion across the country on Saturday as airports struggled to adjust to the new directives.  Stories of families separated or detained for hours starting circulating news outlets.The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas and avoided the traditional inter-agency process that allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance.

DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, referred to as green card holders.  The White House overruled that guidance overnight and decided that on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.  The Department of Homeland Security decided that green card holders would be allowed to board international flights but would be considered on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced the Justice Department would not defend Trump’s executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as all citizens, from the seven Muslim-majority nations. Just hours after her announcement, President Trump fired her.  Yates had served in the Justice Department for 27 years and Trump had asked her to serve as acting attorney general until the Senate confirmed Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Yates is not the only one to publicly disagree with the executive order.  More than 200 State Department officials and diplomats have signed on to drafts of a dissent memo that condemns Trump’s executive order.  Executives at a growing number of corporations have spoken out against Trump’s immigration ban, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla, Airbnb, Ford and Goldman Sachs.  World-wide protests has erupted across the globe as well.

Then, Federal Judge James Robart, who presides in Seattle, halted the enforcement of Trump’s order Friday night, effective nationwide.  Ruling in a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota who sought to stop the order, he said the states “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementation of the Executive Order. ”  He said the order adversely affects residents in areas of education, employment, education and freedom to travel.

The Department of Homeland Security announced it has suspended all actions to implement the immigration order and will resume standard inspections of travelers as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban. They said the Justice Department — which is expected to file an emergency motion to stop the order — needed to challenge the ruling “at the earliest possible time.”

 

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