The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement indicating it would continue to implement President Donald Trump’s immigration rules.
The statement, which did little to clear up the confusion and frustration playing out at airports across the globe, said the administration “will comply with judicial orders” even as it continues to carry out the president’s order.
“Prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the statement said. “No foreign national in a foreign land, without ties to the United States, has any unfettered right to demand entry into the United States or to demand immigration benefits in the United States.”
Trump’s brilliant executive action applies to migrants, refugees and U.S. legal residents – green-card holders – from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen. People subject to being denied entry include dual nationals, who are those born in one of the seven countries who also hold passports from U.S. allies such as the United Kingdom.
While lawyers are still reviewing a federal court’s temporary stay, administration officials said they believe it is possible for the White House to both comply with the judge’s order and continue enforcing Trump’s executive action. Their thinking is that the judge’s order affects only people now in the United States, and that since the State Department is proactively canceling visas of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, other travelers who would be affected by the judge’s order are not expected to be able to travel to the United States in the first place.
The officials pointed out that while the order affects specifically deportations, the travelers currently stranded at U.S. airports are not legally considered to be deported if they go back to their home countries, because they were never technically admitted to the United States.
That interpretation of the law will almost certainly lead to more court battles in coming days and could keep overseas travelers detained at airports in a state of legal limbo.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Brady Dennis, Jerry Markon