Trump expected to sign off on Islamophobic immigration decrees
Newly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to adopt measures to limit immigration to the United States from Syria, and six other Middle Eastern or African countries on Wednesday, according to a number of congressional aides and immigration experts with inside knowledge of the matter.
In addition to Syria, Trump is expected to sign executive orders that will temporarily restrict access to the United States for most refugees from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified, in comment to Reuters.
"From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights," said Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, commenting on Trump’s potential plans.
"But from a policy standpoint it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees."
Trump is expected to sign the orders at the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, the executive body responsible for immigration and border security.
During an electoral campaign defined by off-the-cuff remarks, hyperbole, controversy, and outbursts of Islamophobic rhetoric Trump proposed instituting a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US if he won power, a measure that he said would protect Americans from terror attacks.
More recently Trump and US Senator Jeff Sessions, the new president’s nominee for attorney general, have hinted at focusing restrictions on countries whose emigres are deemed to pose a more heightened threat to the US, rather than a blanket ban on people from a specific religion.
"His comments during the campaign and a number of people on his team focused very much on religion as the target," said Hiroshi Motomura, an immigration expert at UCLA School of Law, arguing that those who may object to the executive orders could launch legal challenges if all the countries included in the ban are Muslim-majority.
If Trump does take such actions to limit immigration from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries he is likely to instruct the State Department to discontinue issuing visas to stop issuing visas to people from those states.
Speaking on Tuesday White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that the Trump administration would begin working on the vetting process once Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee as Secretary of State had been confirmed in his post.