The US District Court for the Eastern District of NY in an emergency ruling [text] Saturday stayed the execution, until further notice, of an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump [official website], which would restrict access to the US for visa holders and refugees from certain countries. Trump signed the executive order: ‘Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States‘ [text] on Friday. The order suspends entry into the US for nationals from any country who was facing restrictions under the Visa Waiver program [official website]. In the lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a petition [text] on behalf of two Iraqi refugees who were holding valid US visas, but had been denied entry because of the order. The order has already been challenged in court by several lawsuits, claiming that the order is unconstitutional and that it is in conflict with several federal statutes. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia also issued a decision [text, PDF] Saturday stating, that all legal permanent residents detained had the right to a lawyer and they could not be removed from the US for the next seven days.
The countries in question were not mentioned directly in the order, but the White House has confirmed that the countries are: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The order also indefinitely suspends the entry into the US of Syrian refugees. According to the order, no Syrian refugees will be allowed into the US before changes are made to the system, possibly referring to a more thorough system of vetting incoming refugees. The order further suspended admission of refugees from any country for 120 days while the administration is reviewing the visa program and limited the number of possible refugees for 2017 to 50,000. When signing the order, Trump said the order would help to: “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America.” The order was signed during Trump’s visit to the Department of Defense, during which he also signed an order promising to invest in and rebuild the armed forces of the US.
Friday’s executive orders are only two of several orders signed by the President since his inauguration on January 20, 2017. On Tuesday the President signed an executive order to withdraw the US [JURIST report] from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim Nations signed a year ago. Also on Tuesday, Trump signed [JURIST report] another order preventing foreign non-governmental organizations from receiving US funding if they provide abortions or promote policies that may lead to abortions. Trump has also addressed the immigration area before in his orders. On Wednesday he signed two orders [JURIST report] withholding federal funding to cities that provide safe haven to illegal immigrants, directing the construction of a wall along the US and Mexican border and an increase in the number of enforcement officials to remove undocumented immigrants.