February 28, 2017

President Trump drafting new immigration executive order

After the federal courts blocked the president’s Jan. 27 executive order to temporarily suspend entry of “all immigrants and non-immigrants” from seven majority-Muslim countries, the Trump administration has been drafting a new executive order that was expected to be released shortly.

The original executive order, EO 13769, is one of three orders related to immigration regarding border security, immigration enforcement, and visa and refugee programs. In addition to suspending entry into the United States from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria for 90 days, EO 13769 would indefinitely bar Syrian refugees from entering the country, suspend the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for 120 days, and reduce the number of refugees allowed into the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000.

The order, which went into effect immediately without notice or clear guidance, created confusion at numerous airports around the country and internationally and resulted in lawyers rushing to airports to assist those who were being detained regardless of their immigration status.

In a lawsuit brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota, Ninth Circuit Appeals Judge James Robart temporarily halted the president’s executive order nationwide on Feb. 3 until the case could be heard in court. On Feb. 9, a three-judge panel denied an emergency motion from the Justice Department to stay Robart’s ruling. The litigation is pending as the administration drafts a new executive order.

The other executive orders, issued on Jan. 25, call for the construction of a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico, the end of the “catch and release” policy, and the building of new detention facilities along the border to house those waiting for removal proceedings. In addition, the use of expedited removal is expanded, allowing individuals to be deported without an opportunity for a hearing before an immigration judge.

In a statement issued Jan. 31, ABA President Linda A. Klein said the ABA is concerned with significant portions of the executive orders. “Together, they make significant changes to our nation’s immigration policies and jeopardize fundamental principles of justice, due process and the rule of law,” she said.

Responding to the details of the orders, Klein emphasized that the ABA opposes detention except in extraordinary circumstances, such as a threat to public safety or flight risk, and maintains that removal decisions should be made only by impartial adjudicators, preferably immigration judges, following a formal hearing that with accepted norms of due process.

The ABA House of Delegates took further action Feb. 6, when the delegates approved a policy resolution urging the president to withdraw EO 13769 and the executive branch to ensure that any executive orders concerning border security, immigration enforcement and terrorism respect the bounds of the U.S. Constitution and other international legal obligations and facilitate a transparent, accessible, fair and efficient system of administering U.S. immigration law and policies. 

 

Back to the February 2017 Washington Letter