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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


President Trump’s executive order is within executive powers

On Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order that halted refugee admission for 120 days and temporarily banned entry from seven countries of concern — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — all in the name of better vetting.

As a result of the executive order, protests have sprung up at various airports across the country and has sparked the hashtag #NoBanNoWall. The Trump administration decided to sign the EO at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, which is the basis of all the confusion surrounding what the EO actually said and what the provisions were. No one knew what was actually going on.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that none of this should have come as a surprise. Trump promised all of these actions during his campaign for the presidency. Kudos to Trump for doing what he said he was going to do, whether you agree with him or not.

What’s in the EO

There has been a lot of hysteria surrounding the EO; it seems like people just want to react without reading what’s in it. So let me explain what the EO actually does.

First, the EO places a 120 day halt on refugee admissions to the U.S. so that the government can improve the current vetting process. The EO caps the number of refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. This isn’t crazy by any means; this has been the cap for the past four years.

Obama expanded the number of refugees admitted from the W. Bush administration, so Trump is not narrowing the number of refugees admitted — he is continuing an already existing policy.

Second, the EO places a 90-day ban on people entering from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. These 7 countries are not just picked out of thin air.

They come from Obama-era policy. The EO specifically refers to a policy drafted by the Obama administration: “From countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12).” The section of that policy is entitled “Not Present in Iraq, Syria, or any other country or area of concern.”

Then, in early 2016, the Obama Department of Homeland Security named the five other countries of concern. This is why these seven countries were named and not the other countries with terrorist ties.

The EO does mention religion when it comes to those being persecuted for their faith — i.e. Christians in the Middle East. And for those of you thinking that this kind of religious test is unacceptable, it’s actually required by law. As stated in Section 1158 of Title 8, US Code, “the applicant must establish that…religion…was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.”

What the EO is not

For the love of everything that is good, stop calling this a Muslim ban; it is not.

The word “Islam” or “Muslim” is not found in the EO at any point. Anyone who says that the EO is a Muslim ban is clearly misinformed or lying.

If this was a Muslim ban, then the 40 or so Muslim majority countries would also be on the list. Indonesia — the largest Muslim majority nation — is not on the list. The media’s claims that the EO is a Muslim ban is perpetuating the fake news they so love to hate.

The EO is clearly constitutional. Those claiming that the EO is unconstitutional are giving two pieces of reason: the 14th Amendment and whether Trump has the ability to do what the EO states.

Firstly, Trump does have the ability to do this: it falls under the purview of the executive branch.

Those who are claiming the EO is unconstitutional are trying to prove that the Constitution applies to non-citizens, which is blatantly false. The inalienable rights apply to everyone, the Bill of Rights does not.

The 14th amendment states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This would push the narrative that the Constitution applies to everyone, if the 14th Amendment didn’t begin by stating, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside,” which negates the application argument.

Green Card and Legal Status

The biggest confusion about the EO comes from the fact that no one seemed to know whether the EO applied to green card holders and those with legal status. According to CNN, the DHS initially said that the EO did not apply to those with special status. But, Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller interpreted the EO to mean the exact opposite and thus overruled the DHS.

This whole saga is ridiculous. Those with legal status and those who hold green cards have already been through extreme vetting. This is just pure incompetence from the Trump team. And if it was done deliberately, they must be called out for it.

It remains to be seen whether this EO actually does its job, but it most likely will not have an effect. The level of hysteria surrounding this EO only reinforces the fact that there is an epidemic of fake news in this country.

Assistant opinion editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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