Trump’s executive order on immigration has reignited an already fierce debate over his executive powers, with Democrats, civil rights groups, and legal experts raising concerns that it could open the door to discrimination against immigrants and those who work for them.
Trump’s order, signed on Wednesday, bars nationals of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and indefinitely blocks citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering for 90 days, and bars entry for citizens of Iran, Syria and Sudan.
The order also blocks the entry of all refugees for 120 days and for those who had already been in the U.S. for six months.
It imposes a 90-day suspension on refugees entering the country from seven Muslim-led countries.
A few hours after Trump signed the order, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement saying that he was “confident that the administration has complied with the law.”
The order’s immediate effects are unclear, with some experts arguing that it will only exacerbate tensions between the U,S.
and Muslim-dominated countries, and other experts saying it would only cause a temporary halt to the refugee program, not a blanket ban on all refugees.
But Democrats are seizing on the order as evidence that Trump is not as concerned with keeping the country safe as Democrats have made out.
Democrats are using the order’s implications to argue that Trump and his aides have been slow to act against the radicalization of U.N. diplomats, and have failed to protect their own staffs from extremist ideology.
“The executive order that President Trump signed yesterday threatens the lives of hundreds of diplomats, U.n. employees, and law enforcement personnel at home and abroad, and could make it easier for terrorists to infiltrate our country,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Twitter.
“If this executive order is enforced and our nation is subjected to terrorist attacks, we will not stand by and allow the president’s actions to have any effect,” Sen, Patty Murray, D. Washington, said on MSNBC.
Democrats and civil rights leaders also pointed to Trump’s comments on Tuesday that his order is a “big, fat, beautiful order” and called for an investigation into whether the executive order violates the U’th Amendment, the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D.-Conn., said Trump is being “overly critical of the order” as “he’s being asked to act in an extraordinarily harsh way,” but added that “there’s no question this is an order that needs to be challenged.”
“The American people are asking him to stand up and protect us from the terrorists that we’ve been left with,” Murphy said on Fox News.
Trump issued his executive order in response to an increase in violent acts committed by some Muslim-American citizens of countries he has called “sick countries.”
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it was “actively reviewing” the order and that it would not provide further details.
Trump’s statement on Tuesday, however, implied that the executive action would result in increased violence in the United Kingdom and Germany.
“In addition to our own counterterrorism efforts, we have to confront the fact that there are individuals who would rather kill us than assimilate into our society,” Trump said.
“If we do not protect our citizens, then the United Nations will not be able to protect us, and we will have to face the fact we are all a part of the problem.”