Nearly a year into the Trump administration, new curbs on legal U.S. entry — along with efforts against illegal immigration — are still fueling protest and multiple court challenges.
Several examples emerged just this week.
Late Monday in San Francisco, a federal judge permanently barred President Donald Trump’s order to deny funding to cities that refuse to help deportations.
District Judge William Orrick said the push violated the separation of powers doctrine of the Constitution — and that the funding “that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement” cannot be threatened in this way.
Trump last summer tried to persuade his Twitter followers that a preliminary version of this court order was a “gift” to crime gangs that puts “thousands of innocent lives at risk.”
Appeals are expected.
Also Monday, a lawsuit related to the so-called sanctuary issue was filed in Nassau County charging that a police policy of detaining immigrants sought by federal authorities violates New York State law.
Also this week, the Department of Homeland Security announced it is ending a program that allowed Haitians affected by a 2010 earthquake to live here temporarily.
The estimated 59,000 people affected will have until July 2019 to leave the United States. Ending these programs is not exotic; The Obama administration last year ended temporary protection for citizens of West African countries ravaged by Ebola earlier in the decade.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said on Twitter she traveled to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew in 2015, and “can personally attest” that Haiti is in no shape to take displaced residents back “under these difficult and harsh conditions.”
Still driving the highest-profile immigration fight is the administration’s order last January to impose a travel ban from several majority Muslim nations.
When an initial version of the ban was first imposed last January, senior customs officials were caught by surprise and agency officials ended up violating two court orders limiting the ban, an official probe later found.
John Roth, the inspector general for DHS, has let it be known that his 87-page report on the screw-ups went to senior officials six weeks ago, but they have stalled its release.
This bureaucratic delay marks a sharp break from past practice, Roth noted in a letter to Congress.
The motive for the report’s gagging may be sheer embarrassment — since Trump aides at the time were touting the ban as “a massive success story.”
The administration, meanwhile, has asked the Supreme Court to allow the latest version of what the president at first referred to as a Muslim travel ban to take full effect.
Partial permission was granted last week when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals barred all travelers from six countries without a “bona fide” relationship with a U.S. resident.
Details are still elusive on the “extreme vetting” for which the travel ban was supposed to allow time.