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New US immigration order

February 1, 2017 | Expert Insights

Does this violate US secular credentials?

  • On the 27th of January 2017, President Donald Trump signed the "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States“ executive order. 
  • This executive order, with immediate effect temporarily suspended the U.S Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. It also halted for 90 days, entry of people from seven Muslim-majority nations (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria), from entering the US. 
  • The order originally included US Green card holders but the same was later retracted by intervention from the White House. 

What is the impact of the order?

  • The order unleashed chaos on the immigration systems in the US and overseas. Some travelers who had travelled to the US with valid visas were detained at US ports of entry. Other travelers embarking for the US from airports across the world were pulled of aircrafts.
  • Federal judge of the Eastern District of New York, Ann Donnelly blocked a part of President Trump’s order saying refugees and others who had travelled to the US with valid visas and being held at US airports should not be sent back to their home countries. But the judge stopped short of permitting the passengers entry into the country. They remain confined to a section of the airport.
  • Other federal judges Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington soon issued similar rulings.

What was the President attempting to do?

  • The US President inline with this elections promise was attempting to control entry of passengers from high-risk countries. However the order was issued with no warning period. Consequently even passengers with valid US travel documents were detained and denied entry into the country.
  • The new immigration rules in the Presidential order are temporary in nature, indicating that the new cabinet wishes to introduce more stringent conditions for travelers from so called high risk countries.
  • Israel, which has a reputation for high quality security, follows a system of individual profiling at entry points. Individual profiling maybe more efficient but is also discriminatory. Perhaps, the new US President is attempting to introduce a more efficient but controversial screening process.


During the presidential election campaign, Donald Trump made many election promises, many of which are difficult to implement. The immigration order has created a difficult situation which is now being resolved in US courts of law. It may be difficult for US courts to rule in favor of an order that is perceived as discriminatory. If the courts rule against the presidential order, Donald Trump can say he tried to implement the election promise but was thwarted by the courts.