President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban is already facing multiple legal challenges. LawNewz.com founder Dan Abrams says fighting the executive order means navigating complicated federal law. These statutes are not exactly clear cut, and there are some portions of federal law that Trump could use to his advantage in court, Abrams said.
Critics, including the Council on American Islamic Relations, say the ban targets Muslims, and therefore is prohibited under the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. But in a Tuesday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Abrams said this isn’t the strongest argument at hand. Instead, he points to the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on nationality. Abrams said:
And as a result, you would think, well, that’s pretty straightforward. Except there’s another part of the law, which makes it complicated, which specifically says that the President has the power to suspend the entry of any class of alien found to be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that’s so broad.
Abrams says this gives a lot of power to the presidency, and Trump will be sure to use it. And that’s just the question of stopping travel from the seven countries. He argues that the other issue, over the President’s authority to suspend a refugee program, will be harder for Trump’s opponents to win.
The EO was issued Friday. It stops citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. Each of the countries have Muslim-majorities, but the President has denied that this policy targets people who practice Islam specifically. Then again, he called for such a thing back in December 2015.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” said a campaign statement at the time.
Five federal courts have issued partial stays of the order, and CAIR sued on Monday to stop it under the First Amendments’ Establishment Clause.
[Screengrab via ABC]