Donald Trump signs limited “Muslim Ban” in attempt to override legal objections
Developments on Day 46 of the Trump Administration:
Trump Signs Revised Order for “Muslim Ban”
Donald Trump signs a revised executive order to limit entry into the US by citizens of six mainly-Muslim countries.
The order, modified after the initial effort was blocked by a federal circuit court, bars new visas over the next 90 days to citizens of Syria, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen. It reinstates a 120-day ban on all refugees.
The most significant change in the order, in the effort to get legal compliance, is the lifting of the entry ban on those who already hold visas.
The initial order on January 27 barred any citizen of the six countries — and Iraq, which has been removed from the new edict — even if a visa for business, study, or travel had been obtained. The White House also tried to apply the order to US permanent residents who held citizenship in the affected countries, although this was overridden by the Department of Homeland Security.
The 9th Circuit Court, in a ruling by a judge upheld by a three-jurist appeals panel, said the sweeping ban violated due process rights under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. Some visa holders were temporarily detained, without access to a lawyer, and many were returned immediately to their home countries.
The new order also replaces a permanent ban on Syrian refugees to bring them in line with the 120-day suspension imposed on others.
And, to avoid a court challenge of religious discrimination, it removes language that gave priority to admission to religious minorities in their home countries, a provision seen to apply to Christians over Muslims.
US permanent residents are now explicitly assured that they are not banned.
Iraq’s citizens were removed from the order after high-level representations by the Iraqi Government. The Administration was also especially criticized for the bar on US entry on Iraqi translators who worked with US forces in the 2003 Iraq War and American occupation.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iraq’s removal from the list came after an intense review from the State Department to improve vetting of Iraqi citizens in collaboration with the Iraqi government, though he did not specify how vetting had been improved.
In contrast to the fanfare for the original order, Trump signed the revision with no media present in the Oval Office.
Instead Tillerson, Homeland Security head John Kelly, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions later issued a statement — but answered no questions — at a press briefing.
The original order is widely considered to be the work of chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy advisor Stephen Miller. Bannon also travelled to Florida on Saturday for discussions of the revision, but neither he nor Miller made any comment on Monday.
TOP PHOTO: Donald Trump signs the modified executive order temporarily blocking US entry to some citizens of six mainly-Muslim countries
House GOP’s Proposal to Replace ObamaCare
House Republicans release their legislative proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Under two bills drafted by separate House committees, federal insurance subsidies will be scrapped in favor of individual tax credits and grants. The Government will no longer penalize Americans for failing to have health insurance but allow insurers to impose a surcharge of 30% for those who have a gap between health plans.
Two provisions of ObamaCare are retained: young adults can stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and insurers cannot deny coverage or charge more to people with preexisting medical problems.
Four GOP Senators have already objected to the proposals. “We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Cory Gardner (Colorado), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Republicans, with a 52-48 majority in the Senate, need to convert at least two of those four for assured passage of a new plan.
Democrats offered no sign of working with the GOP and the Trump Administration. “Trumpcare doesn’t replace the Affordable Care Act, it forces millions of Americans to pay more for less care,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Transgender Rights
The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case on transgender rights, leaving the issue rights in schools to lower courts.
The Court declined to act in the case of Virginia teenager Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who sued to be able to use the boys’ bathroom.
The appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, and other appellate panels will now decide whether federal anti-discrimination law and the Constitution protects transgender students’ rights.
Last month Donald Trump’s officials withdrew guidance, issued last year by the Obama Administration, advising schools to let students use facilities — such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and dormitories — of their chosen gender.
Lawsuits involving transgender students are being considered in at least five other states: Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
White House: Planned Parenthood Can Keep Funding…If No Abortions
The Trump Administration tells Planned Parenthood that it can keep federal funding if they agree to stop providing abortions.
Planned Parenthood officials rejected the offer, pointing out that none of the estimated $500 million they receive annually goes toward abortion services.
“Let’s be clear: Federal funds already do not pay for abortions,” Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens said. “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept. Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is non-negotiable.”
The Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, a promise that Trump made during his campaign.
However, observers suggested a White House struggle as Ivanka Trump has been vocal about her hopes to champion women’s rights.
A statement in Donald Trump’s name said on Monday:
As I said throughout the campaign, I am pro-life and I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of non-abortion services such as cancer screenings.
Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.
Democratic legislators pledged a fight if House Republicans issued a proposed repeal or revision of ObamaCare which removes Planned Parenthood funding.
The Trump Administration should brace themselves for a fight. We deserve nothing less than the full range of safe reproductive care. https://t.co/EL88oIj274
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 6, 2017
Homeland Security Head: We May Separate Undocumented Parents and Children at Border
Homeland Security head John Kelly confirms that the department is considering separation of children from their parents at the US border, as the Trump Administration cracks down on undocumented immigrants.
We have tremendous experience of dealing with unaccompanied minors. We turn them over to (Health and Human Services) and they do a very, very good job of putting them in foster care or linking them up with parents or family members in the United States.
Yes I’m considering (that), in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network. I am considering exactly that. They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents…..It’s more important to me to try to keep people off of this awful network.
A senior DHS official said last month that women and children, including mothers and their offspring, could be
Currently, when adults enter accompanied by children, they are generally released and able to stay in the US pending disposition of their cases.
Under the DHS proposal, parents and other adults can be kept in detention, with children given protected status, possibly with family members already in the country or to State protective custody.
Leon Fresco, a former Justice Department official, said the Obama Administration, considered but ultimately rejected the measure:
It was never implemented because the idea was that it was too detrimental to the safety of the children to separate them from their parents, and the thinking was it was always preferable to detain the family as a unit or release the family as the unit.
Senate Removes Rule for Contractors to Disclose Labor Violations
The Senate reverses an Obama Administration rule for government contractors to disclose violations of federal labor laws as they seek more work.
The reversal now goes to Donald Trump for his signature.
The Senate voted 49-48 to overturn the requirement to reveal violations of 14, including those pertaining to workplace safety, wages, and discrimination.
The rule addressed government auditors’ concerns that officials frequently failed to consider violations when awarding contracts because they lacked adequate information.
Business groups argued that the rule increased compliance costs for companies and punished contractors for the actions of a few.
The government estimated the cost of reporting requirements at about $458 million for contractors in the first year and about $414 million in the second.