Law school forum about immigration executive orders

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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS — People at the UI Law School are wondering if President Donald Trump’s executive orders about immigration are legally grounded and what are the consequences could be.

The president has signed three executive orders involving border security, national security and refugees. The most recent one cracks down on visa holders from countries which are mostly Muslim.

Lawyers have already helped people who have been stuck at airports, after being told they can’t come in the country. Future lawyers learned a couple perspectives about the philosophy and the law of the executive orders.

With a session about President Trump’s executive orders about to start, the UI Law School auditorium, three overflow rooms and the pavilion were all filled.

“A lot of people are upset about it and there’s obviously been a lot of protests about it,” said law student Andrew Carlson. “I think it’s great to have a perspective from legal experts about what are the implications of it, what it’s going to do going forward and how it’s going to affect everybody.”

The president’s executive orders include a rule refugees have to wait four months before coming in the country. Ones from Syria can’t get in at all. President Trump says he’ll only allow 50,000 refugees all year and there are millions of people who need somewhere to go.

“Fifty thousand, relative to the global burden of refugees is really small, relatively small,” said Professor Colleen Murphy. “And closing off or barring permanently Syrian refugees is targeting those precisely who’s need is most acute.”

Some asked whether President Trump’s executive orders were more dictator-like than democratic. One professor explained the Plenary Power Doctrine.

The president and Congress are the only ones with power to regulate federal immigration policy.

“The Obama administration’s position for the Supreme Court was that it possessed absolute authority, that’s what it said in the brief, to exclude non-citizens from the country and therefore there is no right to judicial review or any further rights in that context,” said Professor Jason Mazzone.

Congress or the Supreme Court could still weigh in on the president’s orders and the way they’re being enforced. The next generation of lawyers will watch it all unfold. The forum was an hour long. The College of Law will be posting a video of it next week.

President Trump says he has good reasons behind his executive orders. He says he wants to make sure threats soldiers are fighting overseas don’t make their way into the country.

The president says these measures will give agencies time to develop a stricter screening system. As a candidate, he said he planned to use “extreme vetting” procedures to screen people from countries with terrorist ties.

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