by ANDREW NEAL
Last Friday President Trump issued an Executive Order that prohibits refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. All refugees are barred from entering the country for 120 days, and citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia are barred for 90 days.
The language in the executive order allows this temporary rule to be extended and revised. Many are calling this the “Muslim ban” that Trump advocated for on the campaign trail.
Over the weekend, thousands of people took to airports around the country including LAX, JFK, and DTW to protest the action.
In its execution, 109 immigrants were detained at airports who had been travelling while the order was signed. An emergency ruling by a federal court ordered the detainees to be released. In the wake of the weekend, Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to defend the travel ban in court. A White House statement said Yates was relieved because she had “betrayed the Department of Justice.”
Representatives for the state of Michigan have been sounding off on the order.
Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement, “I plan to reach out to other governors and the presidential administration to completely understand the security processes and procedures in place and how the new executive orders might affect people trying to legally enter Michigan. The President’s 120-day reassessment period is leading to a much-needed national dialogue on immigration policy, and I plan to be a part of that discussion.”
Debbie Stabenow, United States Senator from Michigan, said in a tweet, “So proud of our vibrant Arab American & Muslim community in Michigan. Trump EO hurts our families & businesses and doesn’t make us safer.”
Paul Mitchell, United States House Representative whose 10th district includes Macomb Township, said in a statement, “Our nation has a rich history of compassionately welcoming immigrants and refugees from around the world. This must be balanced with our responsibility to protect the American people from threats of terror. I commend President Trump for his commitment to ensuring we know exactly who is entering the country.”
Congressman Mitchell went on to say that the order is a temporary suspension and not a ban, and added that the order itself was unclear.
“I do believe that the executive order – as written and implemented – was not sufficiently clear and had unintended consequences. Congress and the administration must ensure these issues are resolved and all people – Americans and refugees – are protected from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”
Peter Lucido, State House Representative whose 36th district covers Shelby Township, told the Gazette, “This is not new to anybody that has listened to this man while he campaigned.”
“We want to show compassion and we want to show concern for our foreign neighbors, but at what price? American safety?”
When it comes to public safety, Lucido says things have changed since what he calls a “9/11 epidemic.”
“This is a different world we live in today. There’s people bringing harm and injustice to Americans in this country.”
He went on to recall his own family’s immigration story. “My grandparents both came from the old country. They went through a process. They went through Ellis Island. They were documented immigrants. They went through a health physical to see if they had brought any type of disease or illnesses that would affect others. They had to go through this. I’m hearing of cases of TB coming in. That’s going to be a detriment to my family, the families in my district, the families of the United States. That’s uncalled for and if no one’s even vetting out medical, what are we doing?”
Lucido said, “There’s eight billion plus from under-privileged countries – eight billion plus – that would love to come here to America. We only let in about a million a year. Are we really making a difference by letting in a million? The answer’s no. Not even close. We’d be better off to serve those in the third world countries that are out there to bring them help and assistance in those countries.”
There are only seven billion people in the world.
Shereef Akeel, a civil rights attorney in Troy, filed a lawsuit in Washington DC Monday challenging the executive order as a violation of the First Amendment. Akeel is representing several people in the suit including a student here on a visa and a husband who has a pregnant wife overseas.
“Our country should not prefer one religion over another when we accept immigrants into America,” he said.
Akeel says if the government violates the judicial orders that have stayed the executive order, there will be more hearings.
“One thing that’s great about America is no one is above the law and what we’re seeing here is a system of checks and balances.”
Trump’s replacement for acting Attorney General, Dana Boente, issued a statement that the Department of Justice intends to “defend the lawful orders of our President.”
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