President Trump’s revised travel ban will be considered by the Virginia Court of Appeals today, Fox News reports. The travel ban, one of the president’s original executive orders, has faced significant scrutiny throughout Trump’s brief presidency so far. It was originally struck down as unconstitutional, but a revised version will be argued orally today. Intended as a move for national security, the ban will place a temporary restriction on admitting to the United States any foreign national from the named six Muslim majority counties. Those already in the country with valid visas are not effected by the ban.
Opponents call the ban racist and outright religious discrimination. The order was originally shot down by a federal judge in Seattle, who called it unconstitutional. The White House spent a month coming up with a revised bill. A Maryland Court scoffed at that one, saying the order was, at its heart, the same thing. The basic intent of the law was still racist and anti-Muslim.
This draft of the bill, finalized March 6, is the one to be appealed today. Among other changes, the revision removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. The revised order also only put a temporary ban on Syria, as opposed to the original indefinite ban. Syrian refugees have been a hot button political topic as the ongoing civil war in the country has left thousands homeless and fleeing the country for safety.
The oral arguments are to be heard today by the court today. The court is expected to make its decision quickly so that the case can move to the Supreme Court if necessary. Although, no timeline has been given.
In the Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, the White House is expected to justify its position in relation to a 1952 federal law called the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Cold War-era bill was an attempt to keep communists out of the country. It gives the president sweeping authority over immigration when national security is at stake.
“Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, ” says Section 212 (f) of the law, “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
The bill already has an uphill battle on its hands. Out of the fifteen judges on the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, thirteen of them will hear the arguments. One conservative, Judge Harvie Wilkinson, a Reagan appointee, will abstain due to a conflict of interest. His son-in-law is an attorney on Trump’s defense team. Another of the judges, Bush appointee Allyson Duncan, has also abstained, due to undisclosed reasons. Six of the other judges were appointed by President Obama. Four of the remaining ones were appointed by President Clinton. That leaves two wild cards.
The International Refugee Assistance Project, one of the organizations leading the opposition against the president, will argue that the bill harms international refugees. “The president’s discriminatory executive order has trapped these vulnerable people in life-threatening conditions,” said Rebecca Heller, IRAP’s director.
Among their arguments are press releases from Trump’s presidential campaign which make it clear that he is against Muslim immigration. For example, in 2015 he issued a campaign press release stating, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
However, the White House intends to stand by its position by stating that the ban was a necessary national security measure and has nothing to do with religion.
“Although plaintiffs and others may believe that the national-security risk is insufficient to warrant [the order’s] entry suspension,” said the government, “the President is entitled and obligated by the Constitution and Acts of Congress to weigh those risks himself and to strike a different balance than his predecessors if he deems it appropriate to protect national security.”
Further, other presidents have issued similar bans, in a not so controversial manner, and they have been held up by the courts. Nations such as Iran, Cuba, and North Korea have had their refugees and diplomats placed on travel restrictions by recent presidents such as Carter, Reagan, and Obama.
“Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.
Given that Islamic extremists are engaged in a global jihad in virtually every country in the world, is it so much to ask, that the president pauses to give redress to their admittance? Muslims are not peaceful. They do not seek to live well with others. They seek to infiltrate and conquer. But the public has been so taken with the rhetoric of inclusion and diversity that they can’t see the truth right in front of them.