CNN reports: When President Donald Trump declared at the Pentagon Friday he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant.
Administration officials weren’t immediately sure which countries’ citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings.
Saturday night, a federal judge granted an emergency stay for citizens of the affected countries who had already arrived in the US and those who are in transit and hold valid visas, ruling they can legally enter the US.
Trump’s unilateral moves, which have drawn the ire of human rights groups and prompted protests at US airports, reflect the President’s desire to quickly make good on his campaign promises. But they also encapsulate the pitfalls of an administration largely operated by officials with scant federal experience.
It wasn’t until Friday — the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days — that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said. [Continue reading…]
BuzzFeed reports: After President Trump on Friday signed a sweeping immigration executive order, federal employees, lawyers, and many others scrambled overnight and into the weekend to understand what exactly parts of it meant.
As a new president with only part of his cabinet confirmed — notably, not his attorney general or secretary of state nominees — Trump did so without significant parts of his legal and policy infrastructure in place.
And aside from arguments that Trump’s immigration order is unconstitutional, critics have charged that the text is poorly worded and confusing, raising questions about the extent to which lawyers who understand US immigration law and policy and constitutional law scrutinized it before Trump signed it.
“One of the reasons there’s so much chaos going on right now, in fact, is that nobody really knows what the order means on important points,” Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, wrote on the blog Lawfare.
The fact that five federal judges so far have temporarily blocked enforcement of pieces of the order suggests that it’s on shaky legal footing, said Harold Koh, a professor at Yale Law School who served as the legal adviser to the State Department from 2009 to 2013.
“When you have garbage in, you get garbage out,” Koh said, referring to reports that the order may not have gone through robust interagency legal vetting. [Continue reading…]