Trump said Sunday on Twitter that 72 percent of the refugees admitted since the executive order was halted came from the seven countries. Refugees, who undergo a rigorous, often years-long screening process to enter the U.S., are typically fleeing their homelands claiming persecution or fear of violence.
White House aide Stephen Miller said judges on a San Francisco-based appeals court who ruled against President Donald Trump’s travel ban grabbed power that belongs “squarely in the hands of the president.” Miller, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” one of his four scheduled appearances on Sunday talk shows after the court on Thursday ruled against the Trump administration’s January 27 executive order on immigration, said, “There is no such thing as judicial supremacy.” The White House on Friday sent conflicting signals about how it would address the ruling that halted its ban on U.S. entry by citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations for 90 days, and also stopped the entry of all refugees for 120 days. Refugees fleeing the years-long Syrian civil war were banned indefinitely. Miller, a senior adviser to the president, said the administration is considering all options, including continuing to appeal in the Ninth District court, seeking an emergency stay at the U.S. Supreme Court, having a trial hearing on the merits at the district court level, and pursuing additional executive actions.
“The president’s powers here are beyond question,” Miller said on “Fox News Sunday.” The three judges on the appeals court, appointed by Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, “made a broad, overreaching statement about the ability to check the executive power.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” Miller said that “a District judge in Seattle cannot force the president of the United States to change our laws and our Constitution because of their own personal views.” That comment referred to federal Judge James Robart, who granted a temporary restraining order against Trump’s order on Feb. 3. The president responded with an attack on Robart as a “so-called judge” in messages to his 25 million Twitter followers.
Nationals of the seven predominantly Muslim countries are covered by the immigration order — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
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Miller said there were “hundreds of cases of foreign nationals” entering the U.S. and plotting terrorist attacks. Trump said Sunday on Twitter that 72 percent of the refugees admitted since the executive order was halted came from the seven countries. Refugees, who undergo a rigorous, often years-long screening process to enter the U.S., are typically fleeing their homelands claiming persecution or fear of violence.
In addition to border measures, Miller said the administration is focused on “protecting the security of our country through interior enforcement.”
His comment came as U.S. immigration authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least six states over the past week in a series of raids, according to the Washington Post. Actions were reportedly taken in homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and elsewhere.
The sweeps were the first large-scale moves under Trump’s Jan. 25 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. by prioritizing deportation of those who have been convicted of a criminal offense or pose a risk to national security. Those arrested included individuals without criminal records, the Washington Post and other media reported.
Asked on NBC if being in the country illegally, without having committed other crimes, was enough to warrant deportation, Miller said “an immigration judge makes those decisions. An ICE officer makes those decisions,” referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a unit of the Department of Homeland Security. “I and the White House don’t make those decisions.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former Republican presidential candidate, said any concerns about people getting deported who aren’t violent criminals have to do with flaws in the nation’s immigration laws, not Trump’s order.
“The laws in effect have to be enforced, and that’s what’s happening right now,” Christie said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The focus of the president’s order is to keep the U.S. safe, and any people getting deported who have violated the law by their status as undocumented immigrants who are not violent criminals are in an “overwhelming minority,” Christie said.