Everyone knows by now that Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) on Friday barring people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. But many people traveling to the US from those countries, including some who are legally permanent US residents, were in the air at the time of the ban, and couldn’t turn around.
By early Saturday evening, several federal judges in NY, MA, and including Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia, made rulings that would at least stall the implementation of portions of Trump’s anti-refugee executive order. The Daily Beast reported:
As a result, airports across the country turned into Lawfare zones, with cadres of volunteer lawyers squaring off against bureaucrats in the Customs and Border Protection agency. Late-night rulings from federal judges made a legally unprecedented situation even more dramatic, with all three branches of the federal government—congressional, executive, and judicial—warring with each other.
There are three things to consider in this fast-developing story. First, how unprepared the Trump administration was to actually carry out their own EO. From CNN: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said. Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.
CNN further reports that the White House overruled that guidance, with the order coming from Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. They decided that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US. It was decided by DHS that green card holders could fly to the US and would be considered for re-entry on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening. But CNN reports that the guidance sent to airlines on Friday night said:
Lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA.
It gets worse for Trump: Before he issued the EO, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch.
CNN indicates that the EO did not follow the standard agency review process overseen by the National Security Council. That inter-agency process would have asked the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, but it didn’t happen.
The second issue was that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, at least at Washington DC’s Dulles Airport apparently disregarded the stay orders from Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia. More from the Daily Beast:
Brinkema…ruled that the travelers detained by Customs and Border Protection had a right to see lawyers.
After the judge’s ruling, lawyers standing by at Dulles expected they would be able to see the detainees and try to help them get into the US. But, the CBP would not let them see their would-be clients. The Daily Beast reports that it’s unheard of for government agencies like CBP to prevent people who have the legal right to live in the US from seeing their lawyers.
But, that’s what happened. In fact as the evening wore on, it became clear that CBP was defying, or at best slow-rolling Brinkema’s ruling. The lawyers at the airport believe that meant someone must be in contempt of court. The judge could theoretically have sent in federal officers to force CBP to let the lawyers meet with the detainees, but, that would have been unprecedented, and it didn’t happen.
The third issue is that Saudi Arabia was not on the banned country list. That’s right, the country most responsible for supporting and sustaining both ISIS and Al Qaeda skated. Our past few presidents found it convenient to cozy up to the Saudis, but should Trump be continuing that coziness?
If Trump’s intention was to punish sponsors of terrorism, the ban should have hit Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which is where the money and most of the actual 9/11 terrorists came from.
This is what the next 4 years are going to be like. But the question is, are the Trumpets going to become more competent as they go along, or is this what we should expect going forward?
Today’s wake up is for Donald Trump and his administration.They need to govern, not play pretend president.
To help them wake up, here is Xenia Rubinos performing “Mexican Chef“, from her album “Black Terry Cat”. It’s her ruthless critique of the undervalued labor that immigrants perform every day in America:
Bachata in the back
Brown walks your baby
Brown walks your dog
Brown raised America in place of its mom
Brown cleans your house
Brown takes the trash
Brown even wipes your granddaddy’s ass