UPDATE: More shenanigans from my CNN news feed, which comes in an email: “White House officials are discussing the possibility of asking foreign visitors to disclose websites and social media sites they visit, and to share cell phone contacts, sources tell CNN.”
Despite some grousing that I should spend more time criticizing Donald Trump than the Regressive Left, my feelings toward the Trumpster have always been clear (I despise his views), I’ve gone after him a number of times, and, most important, there are plenty of other bloggers out there engaged in taking him down. (Also, read the Roolz: I’m not to be told to write about X rather than Y.)
Nevertheless, I woke up this morning both dispirited and heartened by the news. As you know, on Friday Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration, putting on hold for four months the entry of all refugees to the U.S., suspending refugees from Syria indefinitely, and, for 90 days, prohibiting citizens of seven countries that are predominantly Muslim from entering the U.S.: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (why not Saudi Arabia?). He also promised “stringent vetting” of refugee applicants in the future—probably those from Muslim lands.
This caused pandemonium. Some refugees were sent back from the U.S., others weren’t allowed on planes to the U.S. (these included holders of green cards that allowed them to live and work here, as well as foreign students already attending American universities), and some holding valid visas were detained for hours at airports.
This is unconscionable, for not only does it prohibit legal residents from returning to the U.S., but also, despite Trump’s claims, constitutes a form of religious discrimination against refugees. It also tars the reputation of the U.S. as a historical home for refugees. It is merely one of many actions Trump will take that are repugnant and contrary to the values of our country. And remember, he’s barely been in power for a week!
I’ve always thought that both demonstrations (including peaceful ones that constituted civil disobedience) and legal action were the best way to blunt Trump’s actions, and in this case they succeeded. Many of my countrymen showed up at airports, protesting the executive orders; these included Senator Elizabeth Warren, who showed up at Boston’s Logan Airport to protest. Peace be upon her! Note that she predicts that Trump’s orders will be overturned, and I suspect this video was taken before the judge’s decision (see below).
But more important, as has been widely reported, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn (you can see her short court order here) temporarily blocked Trump’s order, or at least part of it:
The judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.
The high-stakes legal case played out on Saturday amid global turmoil, as the executive order signed by the president slammed shut the borders of the United States for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Massachusetts, a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio and countless others across the world.
. . . Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m. that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could cause them “irreparable harm.” She said the government was “enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals” who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.
The ruling does not appear to force the administration to let in people otherwise blocked by Mr. Trump’s order who have not yet traveled to the United States. [JAC: That’s bad, for many of those are legal residents]
The judge’s one-page ruling came swiftly after lawyers for the A.C.L.U. testified in her courtroom that one of the people detained at an airport was being put on a plane to be deported back to Syria at that very moment. A government lawyer, Gisela A. Westwater, who spoke to the court by phone from Washington, said she simply did not know.
This was followed by another ruling against Trump’s order:
Minutes after the judge’s ruling in New York City, another judge, Leonie M. Brinkema of Federal District Court in Virginia, issued a temporary restraining order for a week to block the removal of any green card holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.
In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security has said it will continue to carry out Trump’s orders, excluding those that have been put on hold by the courts. Trump’s actions have created chaos, and I’m delighted to see some American protesting his actions, as well as the courts overturning them. But what will happen when the Supreme Court once again attains a solid conservative majority, as it undoubtedly will?
Protests and recourse to the law: these are the two weapons we liberals have against the actions of the Trump administration. Protests are fine, and I hope they change people’s minds, but for sheer effectiveness there’s nothing like a court order.
Here’s a photo of Donnelly donning her judicial robes in 2015, right after being sworn in as a federal judge: