The refugee ban

As I type this, my Twitter timeline is filled with photos of protests of Trump’s latest executive order, Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.1 Like me, you’ve probably read descriptions of it, but it often helps to read the actual text for yourself. Even though documents like this are often difficult to read because they’re filled with references to references to references, it’s still worth the effort because it’s a way of checking on how straight the news you read is being with you. And sometimes you’ll see things that aren’t emphasized in the news reports.

As I read the order, a couple of things (apart from the obvious and what’s already been well-reported) stood out:

  1. Section 5(g) says

    It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.

    A “role in the process of determining the placement or settlement” should be read as “the right of refusal.” In other words, the administration that is dead set against cities using the principles of federalism to act as sanctuaries for refugees—as shown in this executive order from just two days earlier—is perfectly happy to allow those same principles to be used by other cities to refuse any and all refugees that the federal government may allow in.

  2. Section 10 sets up a program for the reporting of crimes committed by foreign nationals. I can’t tell if this is different from the provision of that earlier executive order that creates an Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens, but it’s the justification of the program that I find interesting:

    To be more transparent with the American people, and to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest…

    Yes, the president who refuses to release his tax returns and whose Cabinet appointees have repeatedly failed to fill out complete disclosure forms is establishing a new bureaucracy for reporting those special crimes committed by foreigners. And he’s doing it because of his commitment to transparency.

I see there’s a new executive order that came out today on Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees. That should be a good one.

Update 01/28/2017 9:47 PM
While I was writing this, the ACLU got a stay on deportations via the executive order. If you follow that link, you can see the news and donate.


  1. I’d prefer to provide an official White House link to the executive order, but it’s not there. Maybe it’ll show up in a day or two. ↩︎