Everything to know about Donald Trump's immigration order: "Muslim ban," protests and what's next
Anfal and Elaf Hussein went to the airport Saturday expecting to see their mother for the second time in 21 years. Then President Donald Trump threw a wrench in their plans. The sisters, who are American citizens, waited nearly a day to see Iman, their mother, who was traveling from Iraq with a recently issued green card. Iman was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for 24 hours because of the executive order Trump signed Friday.
Following through on a core campaign promise, Trump changed America's relationship with the world in his first week perhaps more than Barack Obama did in eight years. And by doubling down on Friday's executive order, Trump has guaranteed he will own the political, moral and international ramifications of his action.
In response, Americans protested — in force. For the second weekend in a row, tens of thousands of people gathered on the streets and at the airports to show their opposition to Trump's policies. Moreover, foreign leaders and top Republicans shunned the president. While not likely to overturn the order, numerous challenges to the ban struck a blow to Trump's authority.
Trump promised this. He created it. He owns it. And, like his other executive orders, he's doing it more or less alone, aside from a coterie of close advisers working outside the large government bureaucracy at his disposal.
Mic covered Trump's executive order, its impact, protests and more throughout the weekend. Continue to check mic.com/navigatingtrumpsamerica for more.
This is Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America — and how it affects you. America is at a crossroads. Today, we detail everything to know about the past 72 hours.Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.
• Today: The executive order heard round the world.
• More: What Trump's order on immigration did (and didn't) do. How this impacted refugees and travelers. Who responded, and how.
• Massive protests rocked the country. For the second weekend in a row, tens of thousands of people turned out to oppose Trump.
• And much more.
• Where's Trump? Washington, D.C.
• Confirmation hearings: Yes, that's still going on. Rex Tillerson and Betsy DeVos will face votes this week. Scroll for more.
What are the specifics of Trump's executive order on immigration?
The order says the U.S. cannot "admit those who do not support the Constitution." It also does the following:
• Stops all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days;
• Indefinitely bans all refugees from Syria;
• Stops people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days;
• Regardless of their citizenship status, conducts additional screening of anyone entering the U.S. who is deemed suspicious.
Trump said the order is not a Muslim ban, but the countries he targeted are majority-Muslim. (But later on Twitter, Trump did call the order a "ban.") Rudy Giuliani even said the strategy was employed to target Muslims without specifically naming their religion. And despite being 10 pages long, the document, entitled "Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States," immediately sowed confusion about who it affected and what it allowed.
The Department of Homeland Security initially believed Trump's order did not apply to green card holders, immigrants to the U.S. who have already undergone substantial screening. (The order was signed without consulting the secretaries of DHS or Defense.) These permanent legal residents are offered the same protections as American citizens. Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller initially intervened to say the order did apply to holders of green cards, only to have that (sort of) walked back by DHS Secretary James Kelly on Sunday.
That indecision has consequences. Amir Sabouri, an Iranian New Yorker with a green card who was traveling in Iran when Trump signed this order, now does not know if he will be able to re-enter the U.S. and rejoin his family.
Don't miss this: Bannon was elevated this weekend to a national security role normally reserved for top generals. Trump's chief strategist will now be privy to America's most sensitive military intelligence. Read more from Politico about how Bannon is amassing power in the White House.
The significance of the order
The impact of Trump's order was swift. Dozens of people who were in the air as Trump signed the order landed in the U.S. and found they could not enter the country. As news of detention at airports across the country spread, attorneys filed lawsuits to cease any deportation of foreigners affected by the order. Lawyers won multiple victories on Saturday night to halt Trump's order, but in some cases, it took Customs and Border Protection until Sunday to comply with court orders.
Trump's defense? This is a "small price to pay" for safety of the homeland. (More on why that is not a statistically valid argument to ban refugees below.) He wrote on Twitter Monday morning that 109 out of 325,000 people entering the U.S. on Saturday were detained and held for questioning. He added that "all is going well."
But at Dulles International Airport near Washington, law enforcement prevented lawyers from reaching legal American residents even after judges questioned the constitutionality of Trump's order. Mic learned that Customs and Border Patrol was pressuring people to sign documents relinquishing their legal status in the U.S. And officials are apparently revoking visas obtained after rigorous vetting when people land in the U.S. after traveling abroad.
The situation leaves thousands of refugees and other travelers in limbo. It also creates uncertainty for people from banned countries living in the U.S. People traveling abroad from these countries are fearful about their ability to reenter their legal home. Universities are advising students not to travel. Overall, Trump's order temporarily bans at least 218 million people from entering the U.S.
A loud, international rebuke
Protests erupted across the country. Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled airport terminals, held signs and chanted outside to signal their disapproval of Trump's order. The gatherings attracted international media attention as standoffs played out between protesters and immigration officials.
Demonstrators gathered in dozens of American cities. Protests were especially large at airports in Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. (Mic has photos.) And a New York City taxi union, which represents many immigrants and Muslims, declared a work stoppage at John F. Kennedy International Airport for an hour on Saturday.
There is no reason to believe these protests are localized incidents. New polling has shown the president has a 51% disapproval rating, a stunning decline in popularity for a new American leader. It took the last five presidents years to reach that mark. Trump got there in eight days.
News of the detentions prompted a huge contingent of lawyers to show up at airports around the country, offering legal representation to people who were detained. They worked frantically under tough conditions even just to figure out how many people were detained, let alone provide support amid the confusion of the ban.
The response from international leaders was largely uniform: The ban is wrong. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her dismay over Trump's move in a call with the president on Saturday. Merkel also "explained" the responsibility of countries that have signed the Geneva Conventions to aid refugees. British Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to express disapproval of Trump's ban. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country will welcome refugees. "Diversity is our strength," the liberal Canadian leader tweeted. (Mic)
Others were harsher in their response. Iran will stop issuing visas to American citizens, and Iraq is threatening a ban on travel to the country by U.S. citizens. The Iraqi parliament passed a "reciprocity measure" against the U.S. on Monday, but its details are unclear.
Corporations widely condemned the ban. Mic has a roundup of how large companies, from Airbnb to Lyft, responded to the executive order. Starbucks announced it will hire 10,000 refugees in response to Trump's ban. (Mic)
Did you catch that Trump signed the order on Holocaust Remembrance Day? Amid criticism that the White House marked the day with a statement that did not mention the Jews, his administration said, "we took into account all of those who suffered."
Legal challenges — and their likelihood of success
The American Civil Liberties Union scored the first court victory against Trump's order in New York City on Saturday night: A federal judge temporarily halted the deportations of travelers to the U.S. who held legal immigration documents. That win was echoed by judicial decisions around the country saying people being detained at airports could not be deported or detained. A lawsuit that argues the entire ban is an unconstitutional religious test is expected to be filed Monday.
But because courts have rarely given broad U.S. constitutional protections to foreigners, Politico writes, it will be difficult to find a legal viewpoint from which to strike down the order. That also suggests any appeals to the Supreme Court could be ineffective, even with its split-justice makeup.
How are Republicans responding?
With the success of legal recourse questionable, Congress may be the only group with the power to check Trump's authority. Whether the GOP will act is a different question entirely.
A number of Republican senators offered varying levels of criticism of the president's order throughout the weekend. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham said Trump's order "will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism." Sens. Marco Rubio and Tim Scott went easier, saying they had "unanswered questions" about the order. Other elected Republicans distanced themselves from the president — who did not consult members of Congress before signing the order — on Twitter. Sen. Mitch McConnell, while saying he supported stronger borders, said the U.S. should not implement a religious test. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada went so far as to say the order had "the appearance of religious ban."
How many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks by people from these banned countries since 9/11? None.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, no fatal attacks in the U.S. have been carried out by people from the seven banned countries. (People) The 9/11 hijackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.
Meanwhile, ISIS is already beginning to use Trump's order as a recruiting tool. Vox detailed how presidents George W. Bush and Obama made pains to not target all Muslims when they focused their rhetoric on responding to Islamic terrorism. (Vox)
Something else you need to know: Americans commit most of the terrorism in America. Trump's order does nothing to counter the homegrown terrorism the U.S. has seen since 9/11. (Mic)
Trump's team said they specifically chose seven countries noted by Obama's administration as needing more focus to prevent militants from entering the U.S. But Obama's order called for stronger vetting of people coming to America from those countries; it did not outright ban their travel to the U.S. And Obama did not "ban" refugees from Iraq in 2011, as Trump as claimed. He slowed the admissions process after two Iraqis in Kentucky were arrested on terrorism charges. (Mic)
News and insight you cannot miss:
• There are important Cabinet confirmations coming this week.
• Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate as secretary of state on Tuesday.
• Betsy DeVos, Trump's controversial pick to run the Department of Education, will receive a committee vote on Tuesday. She is expected to win the approval of the Republican-majority committee and move on to be confirmed in the full Senate, much to the ire of Democrats and progressives.
• Give 'em credit for trying: Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for a delay to Tillerson's confirmation vote in the wake of Trump's order on immigration. This is not a request Republican leader McConnell is likely to grant. He is planning to vote "no" on several upcoming Trump Cabinet nominees.
• Here are two must-read reflective pieces from the weekend of Trump's inauguration: The first is a detailed account from inside the protests that happened around the inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20. Mic's Jack Smith IV details the disruptions caused by thousands of organized demonstrators that were not covered by other media. The second is an op-ed on Mic by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza about how movements need to work together to fight Trump.
• A petition to bar Trump from taking an official state visit to the United Kingdom has more than 1.3 million signatures. (Mic)
• Driven by its crusade to fight Trump's executive order, the American Civil Liberties Union received more than $24 million in online donations over the weekend. (Mic)
• People are flooding the Trump Hotels Twitter account with pro-immigration and pro-refugee messages. (Mic)