With illegal immigration and national safety concerns at what feels like an all-time high, it’s no wonder that President Trump’s immigration ban garnered so much bad press. Currently mired in legal troubles, the “Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has American safety at its heart—though its execution leaves much to be desired.
President Trump actually has three orders in the works right now to address immigration issues. However, the executive order issued on January 27, 2017 has arguably raised the most ire with the American people.
The order urges federal agencies to prioritize illegal aliens for removal if they’ve been convicted of or are currently charged with a criminal offense; if they’ve committed acts that constitute a criminal offense; have engaged in misrepresentation of official or governmental agency matters; have abused public benefits programs; haven’t departed the country when already ordered to; or otherwise pose a risk to national security.
The trouble comes from the fact that the order set into motion a 90-day ban on admitting permanent residents—even legal ones—as well as non-immigrant visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Many were quick to point out the high Muslim population in these countries.
Legally, however, the order is sound. Visas do not guarantee entry into the US, for one thing. As for those concerned about a lawful permanent resident’s right to a hearing if they are not allowed to re-enter the country, according to law, it actually depends on why the person was not allowed re-entry. And most importantly, with regard to the courts overturning the order, Section 212(f) gives the president authority to keep aliens out of the US: “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants.”
And lest we put all the blame on Trump, it’s worth noting that Congress already had its eye on Iraq and Syria, and the Obama administration was responsible for putting Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen on the list of “countries of concern.”
National polls show that roughly half of the American people are concerned about their safety when it comes to potential acts of terrorism. More than 7 in 10 adults believe terrorists associated with the Islamic State are already in the US. Obviously, national safety is a big concern that requires immediate action.
Is Trump’s order the best way to go? Time will tell, depending on how things shake out in court. But the underlying problem remains: it’s a dangerous world out there, and we need to take appropriate measures to protect our nation from potential threats.