We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban

This piece originally appeared at Just Security

If a Muslim Ban is cleaned up to exclude Iraq, exempt lawful permanent residents and other current visa holders, is it still a Muslim ban?

That’s the question presented by President Donald Trump’s decision to replace his original executive order, enjoined by the courts, with a new one. The administration’s decision to abandon the old order is wise 
 every judge but one who had reviewed it found it raised grave constitutional concerns. The new order will be less catastrophic in its roll-out than the first, both because it exempts those who already have visas and because it will not go into effect until March 16. But it’s still religious discrimination in the pretextual guise of national security. And it’s still unconstitutional.

As I’ve written before, Donald Trump has repeatedly made crystal clear his intent to ban Muslims from entering the United States. As a candidate, he repeatedly stated that he intended, if elected, to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. He has never repudiated that commitment. When confronted with the fact that his proposal would violate the Constitution, President Trump said on "Meet the Press" on July 24, 2016, that he would use territory as a proxy for religion. And, when asked after his election victory whether he still intended to ban Muslim immigrants from the United States, President-elect Trump confirmed that was still the plan. Two days after the original executive order was issued, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an advisor to President Trump, stated that then-candidate Trump had asked him for help in “legally” creating a “Muslim ban”; that, in response, Mr. Giuliani and others decided to use territory as a proxy; and that this idea is reflected in the signed order. There is overwhelming evidence that the most recent executive order was likewise intended to discriminate against Muslims.

First, it continues to target only countries that are predominantly Muslim. All of the six countries targeted for the immigration ban are over 90 percent Muslim. Second, it does so without a valid security justification. Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security recently concluded that an individual’s “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity” and that “few of the impacted countries [under the EO] have terrorist groups that threaten the West.” Third, on February 21, White House advisor Stephen Miller explained that any changes to the first executive order would be “mostly minor, technical differences….Fundamentally, you are still going to have the same, basic policy outcome for the country.” Exempting lawful permanent residents and others with visas does nothing to alter the purpose or design of disfavoring a specific religion.

So the new executive order is, like the old executive order, intended to target Muslims. That intent violates the first principle of the Establishment Clause, which forbids the government from singling out particular religions for favor or disfavor. The fact that the government has repackaged the ban does not alter its intent or effect  to target members of a particular religion. And the purported national security justifications for doing so have been refuted by none other than the DHS itself.

The executive order has other flaws as well.

It maintains the first executive order’s unilateral reduction of the annual limit on refugee admissions from 110,000 to 50,000. That reduction, imposed unilaterally by the president without consultation with Congress, is unauthorized. The immigration statute does not allow the president to order a mid-year reduction in the level of refugee admissions — which no president has ever done before — much less to do so without consulting Congress. To the contrary, it states expressly that “number of refugees who may be admitted” in a particular fiscal year “shall be such number as the President determines, before the beginning of the fiscal year and after appropriate consultation, is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.” 

The Republicans objected strenuously to President Obama’s allegedly unilateral decision not to prioritize the deportation of certain undocumented people here. But President Obama was exercising prosecutorial discretion expressly granted to him. In unilaterally cutting the refugee cap, at a time of virtually unprecedented world need for refugee placements, President Trump is not only acting unilaterally but in violation of the statute that establishes the process for setting the cap in the first place.


President Trump, we’ll see you in court.

To stand up to the rising tide of religious bigotry, our shareable Know Your Rights cards describe what to do if you or someone you know experiences anti-Muslim discrimination.

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Anonymous

Thank you, ACLU for your leadership.

Anonymous

That's all the crybaby liberals can do is say I will see you in court. They know most people agree with Trump and they run to liberal activist judges to get their dirty work done.

Anonymous

Well we do live in a country with courts and laws as a way to address disagreements. What action do you recommend instead?

Anonymous

Stupid laws stopping discrimination! #MAGA amirite

Anonymous

Hah! Crybaby conservative snowflakes get their panties in a bunch when their "strongman" *45 gets push-back from actual patriots. The "See you in court!" line comes from Trump. He said after his original ban was tossed out by the judiciary. Maybe you'd rather have an executive branch with supreme power to enact whatever draconian legislation it saw fit, and screw the Constitution of the United States? There's precedent for such dictators in history. SPOILER: It never ends well.

PS: Wasn't he supposed to also see the Trump University plaintiffs in court?
“Trump University has a 98% approval rating. I could have settled but won't out of principle!” - *45 in Feb. 2016.
Oh, that's right... he settled for $25M.

Anonymous

"See you in court", The exact words Trump used before. If he can use them, why can't others ? That's what the courts are for !

Anonymous

First check your figure more people are against a ban and see you in court was used by mr trump on numerous tweets

Anonymous

Fact Check: The majority of people in this country don't even agree Trump should be president. 3m+ and counting.

Anonymous

It's also worth mentioning that the order does nothing to allay the concerns of the Ninth Circuit w/r/t the due process rights of U.S. citizens with an interest in the travel of non-citizens with or without existing visas.

Anonymous

There is no due process protection for foreigners, learn the law you live under or don't speak. Your opinions are not facts. It only exists for those who are allowed on our soil. And we have the right to or not allow those on our soil. it is not a right to come here. It is a right of our citizens however to be protected. Real "men" debate it out not take each other to court. And your debate arguments would loose. Because they are actually wrong.

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