One of the new presidential administration’s earliest and more controversial decisions was the travel ban. On January 27, President Trump signed the executive order that dictated citizens from specific countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and all refugees from Syria are banned indefinitely.
Although the ban is only supposed to last 90 days, it has been met with ongoing resistance. Only the day after the executive order was signed, there were mass protests at airports all over the nation and the first judge to block the order. A New York federal judge stated the reasoning for blocking part of the order was that the petitioners had a “strong likelihood for success” in establishing that their removal “violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.” This would mark the beginning of many judicial moves to halt the effect of the executive order.
President Trump’s response to the resistance was one typical of his platform. His statement read, “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.” Unfortunately, this did nothing to lessen the efforts of those who disagreed with him, including his own acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, who was fired after refusing to defend the travel ban.
It wasn’t until Feb. 2 that restrictions were eased slightly, allowing green card holders to travel into the country. This was likely in response to the general negative reception of the order and, if the easement’s purpose was to garner more support, it didn’t receive quite the effect it was hoping for as more and more federal judges declined to support the ban.
By Feb. 3, Judge Robart blocked the ban nationwide, stating that the opposition of the states “have met their burden of demonstrating that they face immediate and irreparable injury as a result of the signing and implementing of the executive order.” This was of course opposed by the administration who tried to appeal for a more favorable outcome, all to no avail.
The new travel ban, unveiled on March 6, was a new effort to have the President’s wishes carried out but only proved to cause confusion as it came out so soon after the first one. The next day, Hawaii filed a lawsuit wanting a “federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of the new executive order.” By March 15, the newest executive order was met with another roadblock.
The major issue with Trump’s travel ban was that each ban essentially blocked citizens from predominantly Muslim countries. Its purpose was clearly to carry out discriminatory immigration practices against Muslims and, although there is some merit in the President’s statement in acknowledgement of national security concerns, the evidence of something more prejudicial is damning.
That being said, there is no more important issue a president is charged with than national security. Trump may not be making popular decisions, but at the heart of the ban is the idea that Americans can only be more secure than before. Opening our borders to any and all who wish to travel here is irresponsible and dangerous.
There is no accounting for execution, but the specific intent shouldn’t be lost. The President’s response of “an unprecedented judicial overreach” when the U.S. District Court Judge in Hawaii “blocked the President’s new travel ban just hours before it was set to begin” may highlight the fact the President sought no judicial oversight when implementing his executive order. Again, the intent to create a more secure nation may have been lost on the public with the lack of oversight in the creation of the ban.
When it comes down to priority, it’s necessary to ask what’s more important, curtailing terrorism or having fair immigration practices? Many may disagree, but the primary concern of the presidency is securing a more safe nation. A president cannot be overly preoccupied with optics when making decisions to further this goal or else the intent gets lost in the arena of public opinion.
There’s at least the slightest appreciation for a head of state who continues to execute an order he believes can do some good, even after the mounting resistance for every decision he has made thus far. We don’t need a president who does what’s popular, we need one who isn’t afraid to make the unpopular decisions in the face of increased opposition. We need a president who isn’t afraid of an uphill battle and that’s certainly a quality Trump has exemplified.
Elizabeth Fequiere is a staff writer for the Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]