Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House issued an immigration order restricting entry into the United States for nationals of six majority-Muslim countries and suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days. While the order removes Iraq from the list of Muslim countries whose nationals are barred from entry for 90 days and allows dual citizens, green card holders, and those with a valid visa to enter, it keeps the same restrictions from the January 27 executive order on those from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Michele L. Jawando, Vice President for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The president can try to word the Muslim ban any way he wants, but the courts have made it clear that the intent behind the order matters. Throughout the course of his campaign, President Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shut-down of Muslims entering the United States.” Trump has repeatedly disparaged and discriminated against the Muslim community and has also implied that Islam as a whole is a problem, misguidedly citing national security as an excuse. But not only is the ban unconstitutional, it does nothing to protect the lives of Americans. Both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a memo shared with the press and the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency indicated as much. In fact, by antagonizing Muslim communities at home and abroad, it could have the opposite effect.
Removing overt references to religious minorities and removing the blanket ban on Syrian refugees does not mask the true intent of this order, and it does not make this version any more constitutional than the first. As White House adviser Stephen Miller admitted, “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country.” In February, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the reinstatement of the first version of this executive order, noting in its decision that the order was motivated by religious discrimination. This intent means that any version of this ban is unconstitutional, and the courts will see through President Trump’s blatant attempt to disguise discrimination.
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