Sunday, January 29, 2017

Interview with ACLU's Anthony Romero Explaining Why Trump's Muslim Ban Is Unconstitutional and Illegal

FAREED ZAKARIA (HOST): So, where do we stand? This is like a movie. The drama is that you’ve filed and the court upheld, put a stay order in place on the ban.

ANTHONY ROMERO: Right. Yesterday the court ruled about 8 pm in the evening to preserve the status quo, to basically prohibit the government from deporting or putting individuals back on planes from countries from whence they came. It's a preliminary stay. She wants to more fully engage the merits of our injunction. Basically, we're arguing that the executive order is unconstitutional and that it’s unlawful. The merits of that will be fully broached in coming weeks.

ZAKARIA: Parse that out for me. You're saying that it's unconstitutional and unlawful, why?

ROMERO: The executive order does a couple of things. It’s a moratorium on all refugees. It prohibits the entry of Syrian refugees. It bans the entry of individuals from seven countries. That includes even green card holders. That includes individuals who have lawful visas. And then it carves out an exception for minority religions. Taken together, the four components of the executive order we think violate the due process protections of the Constitution, the equal protection clauses of the Constitution; violates some federal statues -- the Immigration Nationality Act. We think it also violates some of our international treaties and conventions and violates the First Amendment. The First Amendment is one of the core principles of our Constitution. It prohibits the government from either favoring or discriminating against any one particular religion. And here you have Mr. Trump saying that we're going to exclude individuals from predominantly Muslim countries, and then he carves out an exception for minority religions. The executive order is a smoking gun that violates the First Amendment.

ZAKARIA: So what do you think is likely to happen here? She's going to -- as you say, she wants to hear the full argument, then she will rule. If she rules in your favor, what recourse does the Trump administration have?

ROMERO: They could, of course, appeal it. I think ultimately this will be a case that will be broached before the U.S. Supreme Court. But ultimately what underscores it is that our courts serve as a check and balance on the power of the executive. And this effort is not just unconstitutional and un-American and wrong-headed, we think it's also something that will go down in history as one of the worst moments for American foreign policy and American immigration policy. Our nation is a nation of immigrants. We have welcomed refugees to our shores. Refugees in particular are among the most vulnerable individuals, and the idea that we would try to shut them out because of the fear-mongering [and] the xenophobia that President Trump has now engaged in, we find very troubling. 

Interview with Romero


  1. Almost 20yrs ago you told me I was born in the wrong generation. I've used that little off handed comment to settle my nervous stomach as I laced up my gym shoes to march in the city streets with my sisters, to calm my shaky voice as I dial numbers for my representatives, to remind myself that there have been low points before and no matter how hard it is to take the bruises of the moment, kindness and love of fellow human beings will win out. As I guide 3 little people on how to love others in this world, I felt compelled to search you out and give a fist bump in solidarity of I'm here and part of this generation's movement. With Love and Hugs, Jessica Philips