Opinion: Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional

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During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he made it very clear that he would place a ban on Muslims entering the country, and here we are.

While it is not labeled a “Muslim ban,” it does ban entry to the U.S. to people from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days along with stopping the Syrian refugee program indefinitely.

So to a large degree, President Trump kept his campaign promise. And to some extent, I suppose he deserves a little credit for keeping his word, because not many politicians can fulfill campaign promises. Remember President Barack Obama saying he would shut down Guantanamo Bay during his campaigns in 2008 and 2012?

But keeping a promise made on the campaign trail isn’t worth much when the policy put forward is unconstitutional.

This recent executive order is a de facto ban on Muslims and violates the Establishment Clause, which prohibits the government from placing preference on any one religion or making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

Trump made it fairly clear that his executive order violated the Establishment Clause during an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network. In the interview, Trump falsely claimed that Christians from Muslim-majority countries have a harder time getting into the U.S. and said the government will place preference on Christians from these nations.

“If you were Muslim you could come in, but if you were Christian, it was almost impossible … so we are going to help them,” Trump said.

While the administration knew they could never get away with outright banning all Muslims, as that would be blatantly unconstitutional, they could claim that people from certain Muslim-majority countries posed a national security threat.

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, admitted on Fox News on Saturday that this was the only legal way to place a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

“When (Trump) first announced it, he said Muslim ban,” Giuliani said. “He called me up, he said ‘Put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally … We focused on, instead of religion, danger.”

This argument is absurd and falls apart immediately when you realize that the two largest players in the 9/11 attack, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are not included on the ban list.

Not to mention a recent report by The Atlantic shows that while “six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis and one Yemeni have been convicted of attempting or executing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil” between 1975 and 2015, zero people have died from those attacks. And zero Syrian and Libyan nationals have committed terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Yet even more telling that this ban is unconstitutional is the recent firing of Attorney General Sally Yates for telling the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s ban over doubts of its constitutionality.

Within the first two weeks of this new administration, we may be witnessing a constitutional crisis.

Caleb Snider is a sophomore in public relations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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