The President’s executive order on immigration was badly written and interpreted to have some immediate perverse consequences such as (temporarily) denying entry to the United States to an Iraqi escaping death threats after working for years for the US military. And keeping out an Iranian tech worker living in Canada who was supposed to come to the US to join a startup incubator. And even would make a professional basketball player with dual citizenship unable to play games in Canada.
The order was enjoined in federal court — a temporary measure subject to continued litigation, and subject to re-writing to better comply with laws (apparently the order hadn’t been reviewed in advance by the administration’s own Office of Legal Counsel as is normally required according to the OLC’s own website and instead written by a team led by Rudy Guiliani in order to give facial plausibility to a Muslim ban).
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We don’t yet know the manner or extent to which the administration will comply with the orders. Regardless, not all of the Executive Order was stopped. And not all of the actions taken by the current administration that will affect travel and the rights of travelers was contained solely in that Executive Order on immigration.
- While deportations have been stopped, the order still freezes visa issuance to people from countries that have not supplied a single terrorist to the US (but not from countries that have).
- And it still places new limits on accepting refugees, suspends the Visa Interview waiver program (note: this is not a suspension of ESTA), and requires the collection and publication of data on immigrants “relevant to public safety and security” designed to stoke outrage and anti-immigrant sentiment.
- Identifying any country whose visa reciprocity agreements with the U.S. aren’t ‘truly reciprocal’ in order to place limits on or raise costs of entry for citizens of those countries.
- As I wrote yesterday, the Executive Order demands the establishment of border exit controls not just entry controls. These would apply to US citizens, not only to foreigners or foreigners from specific countries. The expense involved makes the likelihood of full deployment unclear, but this element of the Executive Order hasn’t to my knowledge been challenged in court (and is actually specifically authorized in law).
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- Wednesday’s Executive Order on public safety in the interior of the U.S. contains a provision to limit protections of the Privacy Act to U.S. citizens only.
Sec. 14. Privacy Act. Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.
The EU has much stricter privacy rules than the U.S. does. The US and EU have a data protection agreement that subjects travel reservation (PNR) data to privacy safeguards. It’s a precondition for the EU allowing its airlines to provide data demanded by the US government. However the agreement is not US law, and thus undermined by the executive order.
While a limited portion of the executive order limiting travel has been temporarily placed on hold, much of the order and other orders remain in place.