Thursday, February 9, 2017

Travel Ban

On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the Western shore
--Led Zeppelin

Last week President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspends entry into the United States of aliens from several countries referred to in the Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA). Those countries have been deemed by the federal government (the most recent list was developed under the Obama administration) to harbor threats to public safety or security. The executive order also suspended the US refugee program, indefinitely barred Syrians from entering the US, and cut the number of refugees that the US would accept this year.

Subsequently, a US district judge in Washington state issued a temporary restraining order on the president's order, claiming that the order would do 'irreparable harm' to the affairs of people in several states serving as plaintiffs in the case. The case was quickly appealed to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco where arguments have already been made and a decision is pending.

Judge Nap argues that Trump is well within his authority to issue his order. The president can legally discriminate on the basis of geographic area if there is a likelihood that the region harbors people who are deemed to pose public health or national security threats.

In particular, the INA grants executive authority for temporarily banning entry until more proper vetting procedures can be determined, which is an intent that is clearly stated in Trump's order.

Which ever way the ruling goes, the Ninth Circuit's decision will likely be quickly appealed to the Supreme Court. Judge Nap suspects that the high court will refuse to hear the case if the appellate court sides with Trump and the feds. However, if the circuit court upholds the TRO, then he thinks that the Supremes will take it on since the court is interested in "the orderly administration of government function."

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