Only eight months into his presidency and Donald Trump has already made America a bit greater again.
Only 913 refugees were admitted into the United States during the month of August. Making it the first time the monthly flow has dropped below one thousand in 15 years. The smallest number of monthly admissions since October 2002. Sad to see 9/11 wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for our leaders.
Of the total of 913 refugees admitted during the month of August, 551 were Christians, with the biggest groups including 185 Pentecostalists from Ukraine and 53 Baptists, also from Ukraine. A largely smaller group of 220 were Muslims, including 48 Sunnis from Iraq and 47 from Syria. The remaining 142 were unaffiliated or from other minor religions which included 43 Buddhists and 36 Hindus who were mainly from Bhutan.
According to the State Department Refugee Processing Center, if you compare these numbers to the numbers from January 2017, 49 percent of admitted refugees were Muslims and 40 percent were Christians. Over the months since the Trump inauguration, the number of Muslims admitted has greatly decreased while the proportion of Christians has gotten a lot bigger. I guess that’s the difference between having a president named Donald J. Trump as compared to one named Barack Hussein Obama or even George W. Bush.
Trump travel ban: Supreme Court reinstates key parts of executive order
In a victory for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Monday lifted key components of an injunction against President Trump’s proposed ban on travel from six majority-Muslim nations, reinstating much of the policy and promising to hear full arguments as early as this fall.
The court’s decision means the justices will now wade into the biggest legal controversy of the Trump administration — the president’s order temporarily restricting travel, which even Trump has termed a “travel ban.”
Protesters wave signs and chant during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, Monday, May 15, 2017, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday in Seattle over Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging the travel ban, which would suspend the nation’s refugee program and temporarily bar new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” Trump said in a statement. “…As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.”
He added: “My No. 1 responsibility as commander in chief is to keep the American people safe. Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland.”
The court made clear that a limited version of the policy can be enforced immediately with a full hearing to come in the Fall.
“An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded,” the court wrote. “As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.”
U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. The executive order signed by Trump imposes a four-month travel ban on refugees entering the United States and a 90-day hold on travelers from Syria, Iran and five other Muslim-majority countries.
The justices decided to review the broader constitutional issues over executive authority on immigration with oral arguments to be held in the fall.
Trump has been incensed since his original executive order, signed on Jan. 27, was partially blocked by a federal court.
“What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?” Trump tweeted on Feb. 4.
He added on Feb. 11: “Our legal system is broken!”
In early March, Trump issued a revised executive order — which also had key provisions blocked by federal courts.
Trump has been spoiling for the Supreme Court to take up the case and eager to get it out of the hands of what he sees as more liberal appellate judges.
Four days after signing the original ban, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated when Antonin Scalia died. Gorsuch, who has since been confirmed, is largely seen as a conservative, originalist justice in the Scalia mold and could help Trump claim an even more definitive victory after arguments.
“The government has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits – that is, that the judgments below will be reversed,” wrote Justice Thomas, supported by Alito and Gorsuch. “The Government has also established that failure to stay the injunctions will cause irreparable harm by interfering with its ‘compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.’”
At issue is whether the temporary ban violates the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and 14th Amendments, and the ban on nationality discrimination in the issuance of immigrant visas contained in a 65-year-old congressional law.
Federal appeals courts in Virginia and California in recent weeks have ruled against the administration. A majority of the 4th Circuit appeals court cited then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign statements proposing a ban “preventing Muslim immigration.”
The White House, on the other hand, frames the issue as a temporary move involving national security. A coalition of groups in opposition call the order blatant religious discrimination, since the six countries involved have mostly-Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
A major sticking point for the justices will be navigating how much discretion the president really has over immigration. Courts have historically been deferential in this area, and recent presidents dating back to Jimmy Carter have used their discretion to deny entry to certain refugees and diplomats — including those from nations such as Iran, Cuba and North Korea.
A 1952 federal law — the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed in the midst of a Cold War fear over Communist influence — historically gives the chief executive broad authority.
“Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary,” Section 212 (f) of the law states, “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
In his opinion, Thomas criticized the majority for the compromise nature of Monday’s ruling, indicating he would have allowed the order to be enforced in full. Thomas said he feared “the Court’s remedy” would inspire a flood of new litigation.
“Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country,” Thomas wrote. “The compromise also will invite a flood of litigation until this case is finally resolved on the merits, as parties and courts struggle to determine what exactly constitutes a ‘bona fide relationship,’ who precisely has a ‘credible claim’ to that relationship, and whether the claimed relationship was formed ‘simply to avoid §2(c)’ of Executive Order No. 13780.”
I have to admit, having been brought to this great nation at the age of 2 by my parents, Legally and through the front door, what President Trump has done so far to this nation fills me with pride and joy.
About damn time we had a president who cares about the people inside our borders more than those outside who are willing to break the law to come here. Or who claim refugee status to come here as a Trojan Horse and then refuse to assimilate into this huge melting pot which is the United States of America.
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