In an all-too-uncommon bit of good news from the judicial branch of the United States government, United Press International reports that United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has issued an order temporarily resuming the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s order banning refugee admissions from a handful of countries where screening out potential jihadists is currently either too difficult or impossible.
However, this is far from a resolution to the issue; the Supreme Court will be assessing the issue and handing down a more permanent ruling at a later date.
Justice Kennedy issued the order after an emergency request from the Justice Department. The order puts a hold on a lower court ruling allowing refugees with a formal assurance from a resettlement agency to enter the United States.
Kennedy called on those suing the government over Trump’s travel ban to respond to the latest order by noon Tuesday.
Next month, the Supreme Court will consider whether Trump’s travel ban is legal at its core. The ban prohibits travel to the U.S. by citizens and refugees from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
The high court has already ruled the Trump administration can legally enforce the travel ban, but cannot keep out those with a “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” to the United States — such as those with family members living in the United States, or those with a job or place at a college or university in the U.S.
It’s a sad commentary on how weaponized and politicized the judicial process has become that an issue so open-and-shut on both legal and policy grounds has been held up in litigation for so long.
A temporary moratorium on green cards and refugee admissions from unstable states to improve America’s screening processes is perfectly common-sense. Convicted terrorists from every country on the Trump Administration’s list have made it to US soil in the past.
Past presidents of both parties have exercised the exact same discretion to protect the American people over the past several decades, largely without controversy.
A pause that only applies to 12 percent of the world’s Muslim population is a “Muslim ban” only if words in the English language no longer have any meaning.
And most importantly to the judicial question, by any proper reading of the law, the president does have the power to deny entry to anyone who isn’t yet a legal permanent resident. Daniel Horowitz and Chris Pandolfo at Conservative Review have explained in detail that the Constitution provides non-citizens no right to enter the country, and that Congress has expressly empowered the executive branch to deny reentry to even green-card holders:
The statute is clear as day. The Immigration and Nationality Act (§ 212(f)) gives the president plenary power to “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.” Clearly, the president has the authority to block any non-citizen – including refugees, green card holders, and foreign students – from entering the country. Also, for purposes of deportation, there is no difference between a green card holder or a holder of a non-immigrant visa. No foreign national who has not yet obtained citizenship has an affirmative right to re-enter the country.
Yet we’re almost a year into Trump’s first term, and only now is this order’s enforcement resuming — with even that being temporary.