During his election campaign, President Donald Trump made national security issues a central theme. At one point, he even said that he would call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” On Friday, January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, temporarily suspends the admission of refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely bans all refugees from Syria.
The spokesman for the White House, Sean Spicer, told ABC’s This Week that the seven countries listed were originally chosen by Barack Obama and his administration. These seven countries are listed under section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) of the U.S. code, put into place by the Obama Administration.
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani stated to Fox News that “Trump asked for a Muslim ban, but one that was done legally,” focusing on danger instead of religion. He went on to say that the immigration ban is based “on places where there is substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”
Advocacy groups have challenged President Trump’s executive order, suggesting that the order is a Muslim ban based solely on religion.
A spokesman for Barack Obama, Kevin Lewis, said that although the former president was still on vacation, “Mr. Obama felt compelled to speak out swiftly against what he sees as a misguided start to a new administration.”
Barack Obama came forward on Monday, January 30 to side with protesters around the country. He spoke out against President Trump’s executive order. In a statement issued on Monday, Lewis spoke of how heartened former President Obama is by the “level of engagement taking place in the communities around the country.”
There was a great deal of confusion over the immigration ban. Protests arose at numerous international airports. According to the statement released on Monday, Barak Obama “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.” He added that citizens need to continue to protest and speak out now that American values are at stake.
Donald Trump has asserted that the immigration ban is not a Muslim ban. It does not include several of the countries that are largely Muslim. President Trump and his aides have also contended that the executive order signed on Friday is quite similar to a “six-month ban on refugees from Iraq” that Barak Obama put into action in 2011.
In 2015, Obama added visas as a requirement to enter the United States from precisely the same seven countries. The former president maintains that the action taken in 2011 was in response to a direct threat and only affected one country. Obama further argues that although he tightened the requirements for visas, he never ordered a full ban.
Jon Finer, one of the former president’s administration officials, has recently denied the existence of any immigration ban during Obama’s presidency. He stated that “while the flow of Iraqi refugees slowed significantly during the Obama administration’s review, refugees continued to be admitted to the United States during that time.”
According to White House records, Obama stopped immigrants from gaining access to the United States several times. When he did so, he cited the same portion of the law that President Trump used for his executive order. Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 states the following.
“Whenever the president finds that the entry of aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, the president may, by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrant’s or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
On June 12, 2016, Donald Trump made a statement in response to the Orlando terror attack. He said that, when he was elected, he would suspend immigration from the parts of the world that have a history of terrorism and threats toward the United States. Barack Obama opposed an immigration ban, suggesting that it doesn’t “reflect our democratic ideals,” fearing that “it will make us less safe.”
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