The US Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel [official website] released a memorandum [text, PDF] Thursday approving of President Donald Trump’s executive order [text] to restrict immigration refugee entry into the US. The document outlines the actions the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies will need to take: suspending the US Refugee Admissions Program, developing uniform screening standards, and suspending the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, subject to case-by-case exceptions. Curtis Gannon, Acting Assistant Attorney General, signed the memorandum and concluded that “the proposed Order is approved with respect to form and legality.”
Trump signed the order last week, restricting access to the US for refugees and visa holders from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also indefinitely suspends the entry into the US of Syrian 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. Earlier this week Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Trump [JURIST report] over the temporary immigration ban claiming, among other things, that the order has separated Washington families. The day before, the attorneys general of 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, issued a joint statement [JURIST report] calling Trump’s executive order on immigration “un-American.” The day after Trump signed the order, several federal judges stayed [JURIST report] parts of the order for at least seven days.