President Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

Marwa Hameed

Last week on Friday, President Trump signed an executive order that suspended the refugee program for 120 days and the visa applicant program for another 90 days. The executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” is about “terror and keeping our country safe,” according to the President. The executive order, or ban, as referenced to not only the media but by the White House, excludes citizens from the seven Muslim majority countries including Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria from entering the United States, even under a legal visa.

President Trump signed the executive order halting the intake of refugees and immigrants on January 27th at the Department of Defense.

Not only are citizens from these countries banned from entering for the next four months, but people who are dual nationals that hold a passport from one of those seven countries are also banned from entering. The Foreign Office of the United Kingdom has spoken out about this, clarifying that U.K. dual nationals will not be affected and will be able to enter the U.S. normally. When the ban was first enforced, green card holders were also barred from entering the U.S., but since then green card holders are being permitted back in but will have to be processed and interviewed by officials upon arrival. The Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of certain countries into the country for ninety days without having to obtain a visa, was also suspended for this time period.

Directly after the order was signed, students, green-card-holding legal permanent United States residents, and refugees all around the world were stopped at airports in the United States and abroad. The international airports in Cairo, Dubai, and Istanbul had to turn away refugees headed to the U.S. while airports detained the immigrants or returning residents as they came in. These actions prompted fury nationwide, like when hundreds stood outside JFK fighting for the release of an Iraqi man who worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army back in Baghdad. These protests eventually spread outside of airports where many were being prevented from entering, like Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Portland, Chicago, and right outside the White House in Washington. Hundreds and thousands turned up to denounce the ban. After these events occurred, federal judges in the states of Massachusetts, Virginia, Washington, California, New York, Texas, and Michigan issued a stay of proceedings that stated refugees and other immigrants stuck at American airports should not be sent back to their home countries or be deported.

Protests happened all across the country, like the one seen here outside of JFK Airport in New York.

The Pentagon launched an effort to give special consideration to those who helped the U.S  Army in Iraq as many were turned away after the order was signed. Iraqi interpreters who worked with U.S. troops have been given special visa preferences in the past. Many other departments have weighed in on the order such as the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stated that they will continue to implement the executive order “professionally, humanely, and in accordance with the law.” In recent days, President Trump fired the acting attorney general, Sally Yates, as she ordered the Justice Department not to defend the executive order in court, and replaced her with Dana Boente who President Trump has said will “defend and enforce the laws.” People in the United States and all around the world wait to see what will happen with the executive order and how President Trump will deliver on his promises of strengthening the vetting of people coming into the country.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at a press conference regarding the executive order signed by the President earlier in the week.