By Jenna Billings
Public Relations Manager
Since its signing last Friday, President Donald Trump’s executive order has sparked widespread controversy on the grounds that it violates the basic human rights enumerated in the constitution.
This week, a San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to block a lower court ruling that suspended the immigration ban following lawsuits by the states of Washington and Minnesota, allowing travelers who had been prohibited per the ban’s restrictions to enter the states.
“I was happy to hear about the appeals court ruling,” said sophomore Becca Rutkiewicz. “Our country was founded on immigration and this ban has already caused increased polarization in our country.”
The original executive order signed by Trump temporarily banned for 90 days all travel to the states for visitors from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also calls upon Homeland Security to revisit vetting procedures in order to tighten security.
Even before the ruling and the lawsuits by the states, independent groups made some noise about the ban.
An immigrant rights group filed a petition to join the lawsuit declared by Washington and Minnesota. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed the petition Friday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle. The same organization had previously filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Trump’s order on behalf of two U.S. citizens and a legal resident trying to reunite with their children.
While the ban itself is controversial because the countries are high populated with Muslims, another debate has risen about the president’s use of the power of the executive order. A similar debate ensued after President Barack Obama used the same power to pass his comprehensive immigration reform plan in 2014.
“The law, as I understand it and in the view of leading constitutional experts, is on the President’s side,” said Dr. Gary Rose, professor and Chair of the Department of Government, Politics and Global Studies. “Whether or not people agree with President Trump’s ban, he does appear to be exercising a power that is legally within his purview.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals decision suspended the ban on several grounds. A panel of three judges affirmed that while the president has the power of executive order, they have the authority to review the orders to see if they follow the consitution.
The review that ultimately upheld a lower court ruling that suspended the ban called into question the ban as an instrument of religious discrimination.
“It’s difficult to say that the executive order is for the sake of security, when the list of countries it targets seems completely divorced from the source of terror threats,” said Dr. Steven Michels, professor and Director of Assessment.
With the news of this ruling also comes wonder about the case moving all the way through the justice system, reaching the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has a vacancy, and recently appointed Neil Gorsuch will most likely not be confirmed in time to take part in any consideration of the ban.
Following the public announcement of the circuit court ruling, President Trump tweeted from his personal account, “See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake!”
“I can’t say whether the ban’s review will make it all the way through to the Supreme Court, but I hope for the sake of our nation’s unity the issue is sorted out before that becomes necessary,” said senior Sarah DeNisco. “Trump’s tweet has only fueled the frustration that so many feel at his lack of professionalism concerning a matter of human rights.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.