The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the country’s criminal investigation and enforcement agency, defended President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on foreigners traveling to the U.S. by making the case that should be common knowledge to every American: the chief executive officer of the United States is vested with the power to temporarily or permanently limit or bar foreigners from crossing our borders.
Judge James Robart, a federal judge in Washington state, issued a nationwide restraining order against the president’s directive to limit immigration from several Middle Eastern and African countries.
During the hearing, the DOJ argued that an “alien outside the United States has no substantive right or basis for judicial review in the denial of a visa at all. Moreover, Congress has been clear that the issuance of a visa to an alien does not confer upon that alien any right of admission into the United States.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case on Tuesday, and President Trump has said his administration will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York wrote a lengthy analysis about the arguments. An excerpt (emphasis added):
Beginning with the big picture, the Justice Department argued that Robart’s restraining order violates the separation of powers, encroaches on the president’s constitutional and legal authority in the areas of foreign affairs, national security, and immigration, and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment” about risks faced by the United States.
Indeed, in court last week, Robart suggested that he, Robart, knows as much, or perhaps more, than the president about the current state of the terrorist threat in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and other violence-plagued countries.
The DOJ argued that the court doesn’t have the authority to interfere with the president’s authority on foreign affairs, an argument the judge rejected.
The DOJ quoted federal immigration law, which sets out clearly who has the power to pause immigration. Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama cited this law when they limited immigration.
If the appeals court rules against protecting Americans, the case goes to the high court. If President Trump’s nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court, those who support the president’s efforts to protect the nation will have hope.