President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order blocking the arrival of most travelers from six conflict-prone countries for 90 days, and freezing the inflow of refugees from any country for the next 120 days.
The new order shifts the task of stopping the refugees from officers at U.S. airports over to officials at U.S. embassies overseas, who have been told to stop preparing needed travel documents until Trump’s aides complete a national security review, according to documents released today by the White House.
The shift to overseas embassies may prevent judges from trying to block the new order, just as three California judges on Feb. 3 blocked part of Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on refugees. Under the Constitution, judges have even less authority to block administrative actions in overseas embassies than judges now claim to have over officers working for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The order blocks document processing for would-be refugees from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. A seventh country, Iraq, was dropped from the list when Iraqi officials promised to upgrade their security checks, the White House said.
The order also cuts the annual inflow of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000, and orders federal officials to determine the law allows local communities any say in where refugees are settled in the United States.
The new order cancels the prior refugee order. Officials also say the new order begins March 16, so giving time for people with valid visas to get into the United States.
According to an explanation released by the White House:
Per the Executive Order, foreign nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, who are outside the United States and who did not have a valid visa at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 27, 2017, and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order are not eligible to enter the United States while the temporary suspension remains in effect. Thus any individual who had a valid visa either on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the Executive Order is not barred from entry …
Visas will not be revoked solely as a result of the Executive Order. The Department of State has broad authority under Section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to revoke visas…
Returning refugees and asylees, i.e., individuals who have already been granted asylum or refugee status in the United States, are explicitly excepted from this Executive Order. As such, they may continue to travel consistent with existing requirements….
The Executive Order is effective at 12:01 A.M., Eastern Standard Time, on March 16, 2017.
The new order also shows how the president has the full authority under the Constitution and the laws to curb the inflow of refugees, despite opposition from U.S-based Islamic groups, judges, progressives and Democratic party legislators.