President Donald Trump’s executive orders have totaled 18 so far and some of have brought new waves of controversy every day.
One of his latest orders placed an immigration freeze on seven predominantly Muslim countries.
A point of dissonance has been over what to call the immigration freeze. Protestors of the order have called it a Muslim ban which the Trump administration has denied multiple times.
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said. “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”
The new Homeland of Security John Kelly also insisted that it was not a ban. “This is not — I repeat — not a ban on Muslims,” Kelly told reporters at a press conference. “Religious liberty is one of our most fundamental and treasured values.”
A federal judge in Washington temporarily halted the ban Friday night which applied nationwide. On Saturday morning the Department of Homeland Security said that they would uphold the halt on the ban and the State Department stated that all of the Visas that had been revoked would be reversed. If someone’s Visa had been physically touched with a stamp, that person would have to reapply for their Visa.
Customs and Border Patrol released a memo to all airlines to act as if the Executive Order never happened.
The U.S. Department of Justice sent an appeal and requested the immigration order be restored, however a U.S. appeals court denied the request.
A Washington judge ruled against the order and a Boston judge ruled in favor of the order; this case is likely to go to the Supreme Court, which still has an empty spot due to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last year.
Trump took to Twitter and voiced his displeasure over the Washington judge’s ruling.
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
The Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet after the executive order was signed which confirmed the seven countries on the travel ban.
“These seven countries were designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing a significant enough security risk to warrant additional scrutiny in the visa waiver context.”
The order also noted that upon the resumption of admissions, “the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
Although it does not mention the word Christian or Muslim, opponents of the order noted an interview Trump did with the Christian Broadcasting Network, where he hinted at giving Christians priority.
“They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them,” Trump said.
12,587 refugees were admitted in 2016 and 99 percent of them were Muslim, while less than one percent of them were Christian.
The immigration ban sparked protests across the country, including a flood of people at John F. Kennedy airport in New York.
There were also protests at Battery Park, in lower Manhattan, which is within clear sight of the Statue of Liberty. That march was estimated to have had about 10,000 people.
Several hundred people also gathered in Dayton to protest outside of Republican Congressman Mike Turner’s office on January 30. Comedian Dave Chappelle was there and made a speech.
In a statement, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley spoke out against Trump’s executive order.
“We have long believed that the road to a prosperous and safe community lies in embracing all those who choose to live here. It is this American ideal that has led to the ongoing success of Dayton and other communities like us.”
Several refugees and immigrants who had obtained visas were refused entry into the country immediately after the order was signed, which was one of the sparks for protest. Afterwards, several of them had been released after being detained for over 12 hours.
Former president Barack Obama released a statement through his spokesperson against the executive order.
“The President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” the letter stated.
This is the first time Obama has released a statement since his presidency and he broke the unwritten rule that former presidents refrain from criticizing the current.
Several businesses felt the brunt of anger for actions that they took during the initial rollout of Trump’s executive order.
Starbucks came under fire for pledging that they would hire 10,000 refugees this year within their stores in 75 countries. Supporters of Trump’s policy took to Twitter with #boycottstarbucks.
Uber was also protested when they tweeted out that they had turned off surge pricing at JFK airport on January 28 during the protests. #deleteUber soon became a trending topic.
Tweeters accused Uber of trying to profit off of the airport protests. Uber has said that it will create $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by Trump’s immigration and travel ban.
The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, who was a carry over from the Obama administration, was fired on January 30 for “refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” the White House said.
Yates, when pressed by current Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions in her confirmation hearing in 2015 that she would be willing to go against the president if she felt it was necessary.
“You have to watch out because people will be asking you to do things and you need to say no,” Sessions said during the hearing. “If the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?”
Yates had told the Justice Department not to make legal arguments that defended Trump’s executive order.
“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts,” she said in a letter. “In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”
Over 100,000 Visas were revoked by Trump’s executive order, a lawyer from the Justice Department revealed in court on February 3. Under the new ruling, those Visas will be usable once again.