By Nathan Ress
On Friday, January 27 President Trump issued his most controversial executive order, Executive Order 13769 — “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” This order took place immediately, halting America’s refugee plan for 120 days, and specifically barring refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries. In its wake, a huge surge of public outcry and opposition to Trump and his administration took place, including internet backlash and nationwide protest.
Less than a week later US District Judge James L. Robart granted a temporary restraining order on the ban to the states of Minnesota and Washington. This ruling suspended President Trump’s order and reverted refugee procedures back to their normal status before the order.
Immediately following this decision, President Trump took to Twitter to voice his opposition, tweeting, “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” (Feb. 5).
The President and his administration moved for an overturning of this restraining order, hoping to re-institute Executive Order 13769. After a five day court procedure, this ruling came through on Thursday, February 9. The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit voted unanimously, 3-0, upholding judge Robart’s ruling and rejecting the federal demand that the freeze be lifted on the order.
The Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is acting within their legal capacity to act as a check on executive power, and the judges wrote that any suggestion that they have overstepped their bounds “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”
Once again, President Trump took to Twitter to voice his opposition to the court order. On February 9, the President tweeted, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”
The 9th Circuit court did acknowledge that this ruling was preliminary and that an elongated court session would follow. However, this process will take time, something the Trump administration may not have as the majority of the executive order is only written to last 120 days, and set to expire May 27, 2017.
The justice department could now opt for the Supreme Court to review the decision. However, the Supreme Court is currently only eight members strong and generally thought of as ideologically split 4-4. A tied ruling by the Supreme Court would uphold the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kellyanne Conway has commented on the ruling in an interview on FOX News, saying, “It is an interim ruling, and we’re fully confident now that we’ll get our day in court and have an opportunity to argue this on the merits, that we’ll prevail.”
The 9th Circuit judges, however, in their ruling wrote, “Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.”
Notably, the 9th Circuit Appeals court has not issued a ruling on the order based in religious prejudices. Instead, the court upheld Judge Robart’s original freeze based on the fact that the government had not “made a strong showing of its likely success” in getting the restraining order overturned.
This decision has thus effectively halted Executive Order 13769 for the time being. However, this freeze remains to be upheld by a full court decision. For now at least, it remains the subject of heated debate both among politicians and in public sentiment.
Following up on his statements regarding the Executive Order last week, Canisius College President and Former Griffin Editor-in-Chief, John J. Hurley put out an email regarding the issue on February 7.
In this email, Hurley restated the efforts he had put into place as of last week speaking out against the Executive Order. He has signed on to statements in conjunction with both the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
In his email he wrote, “I chose to sign on to these well-crafted statements to which dozens of other higher education leaders were lending their names because I believe that there is strength in numbers and demonstrating to government officials that a wide cross-section of higher education leaders stands united on a topic is very powerful.” He also noted that it is these larger scale statements that receive more press attention as opposed to smaller individual statements.
President Hurley defended his decision to sign on to broader organization’s statements, saying, “Signing on to these joint statements was never intended to convey any less of a commitment by the college to the cause of immigrants or refugees or any less of an objection to what the President is proposing to do by his executive order.”
Adding to the email, President Hurley offered several ways for Canisius Students to get involved directly within the Buffalo community as well as taking action with local and state government. President Hurley pointed students to the Jesuit Refugee Services for further information and ways to become involved.
Additionally, President Hurley added to his joint statements speaking out against the order with his own letter to John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security.
In this letter, President Hurley states, “We [Canisius College] take seriously the need to safeguard our nation and also the need for the United States to remain the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest students, faculty, and scholars.” He went on to recognize the United States as a premier destination for students across the world, and defended these students’ rights to travel to and study in the US.
President Hurley finished his personal statement saying, “We are confident that our nation can craft policies that secure us from those who wish to harm us, while welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our country.”
President Hurley concluded his email by announcing that he has invited Eva Hassett, President of the International Institute of Buffalo, to come speak to the Canisius community at a later date this semester. Hassett is understandably incredibly busy presently due to the impact and controversy caused by the order, but Hurley is hopeful that she will be able to address and inform our campus “on the situation of the foreign-born residents in our community and the impact of the executive order on all that is being done here [Buffalo.]”