January 31, 2017
Donald Trump signed executive orders barring immigration and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries on Friday. Protests have erupted throughout the world. Policy experts are also protesting the ban, stating that it’s actually illegal.
Why Is the Ban Illegal?
In an op-ed for the New York Times, David J. Bier from the Cato Institute’s Center for the Global Liberty and Prosperity called the ban illegal. He cited the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 as the reason. This act “forbids all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin”.
Trump’s order bans Syrian refugees indefinitely until “significant changes” are made and also temporarily blocks visitors from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The reason? The order states that these countries are of “particular concern”.
Trump has been using a law from 1952 to support the order. But Bier states that “the president ignores the fact that Congress then restricted this power in 1965, stating plainly that no person could be ‘discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.’” This 1965 law was also designed to “give Americans the freedom to sponsor family members or marry a foreign-born spouse”.
Bier also questions whether Trump can rewrite immigration laws without Congress. He writes: an appeals court stopped President Barack Obama’s executive actions to spare millions of undocumented immigrants from deportations for the similar reason that he was circumventing Congress. Some discretion? Sure. Discretion to rewrite the law? Not in America’s constitutional system.”
Other Concerns About the Muslim Ban
There are a number of other experts who are also speaking out against Trump’s Muslim ban. United Nations right’s chief, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, recently stated “Discrimination on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law”.
Other organizations are also speaking out. The Paris-based medical aid agency, Médecins Sans Frontières, is also against the ban. The organization said that the Muslim ban “will effectively keep people trapped in war zones, directly endangering their lives”. The organization Doctors Without Borders is also speaking out. They called the Muslim ban “an inhumane act against people fleeing war zones” and called on the US government to lift the order.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also issued a statement saying that “such selective and discriminatory acts will only serve to embolden the radical narratives of extremists and will provide further fuel to the advocates of violence and terrorism”.
Only a couple of days in, Trump’s time as President is off to a very rocky and troubling start.