Experts: U.S. travel ban

Published: 26 June 2017

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Here are some McGill professors available to comment on the US Executive order that suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and suspends entry by citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days:

Arash Abizadeh, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Canadian professor of Iranian descent at McGill University, canceled a talk this past weekend at the University of Chicago over concern that he would be refused entry to the United States.  Abizadeh, an associate professor of political science, was to fly from a workshop in Frankfurt to Chicago, but the travel ban changed his plans. "There were reports about Canadians who were of Iranian origin, like me, being detained and refused entry," he said. "Taking a trans-Atlantic flight and then having to deal with this mess is not what I wanted to do, so I wrote to the university to cancel my talk and bought a ticket back home."

Topics: democratic theory in relation to questions of identity, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, political legitimation, and immigration and boundaries

Arash.Abizadeh [at] (English/French)

Jacob T. Levy, Dept. of Political Science, McGill University

"The free society is an open society. Trump's efforts to close America's borders to trade and migration imperil religious liberty, the rule of law, and protections from arbitrary police power and abuse. The combination of the planned wall, the expansion of the power of border police, and the grossly unjust Muslim ban mark a dangerous shift toward American authoritarianism. The apparent administration disregard for court orders and judicial oversight worsens this problem. While the Muslim ban seems to have been poorly planned, unvetted by appropriate agencies, and confusingly implemented, the chaos is generally serving the interest of the most extreme elements in the administration, led by nationalist Steven Bannon."—Jacob T. Levy

Jacob Levy is one of the world’s leading libertarian political theorists.

Topics: US constitution, civil liberties, federalism, identity and ethnic politics, immigration, the separation of powers, populism and nationalism, religious freedom, freedom of association, threats to liberal democracy, and truth in politics.

jtlevy [at] (English)

Andrea Bjorklund, Faculty of Law, McGill University

"President Trump’s sweeping executive order seems to violate both Constitutional and statutory provisions of U.S. law by ignoring legal provisions in Congressional acts relating to immigration, by discriminating on the basis of national origin and, arguably, religious affiliation, and by failing to accord due process of law to those detained.
Recent reports suggest a constitutional crisis in the making, as some border agents are allegedly refusing to honour the U.S. District Court’s order that arrivals not be deported and that they be given access to counsel.
The United States is also violating international law with respect to those arrivals who are seeking refugee status or who are claiming relief under the Convention against Torture.
On its face the order discriminates on the basis of national origin.  Statements that President Trump made upon signing, as well as the majority-Muslim status of the countries from which applicants are excluded, suggest that it could be found to discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation as well. 
The inclusion of 'green-card holders' (landed immigrants or permanent residents), at least initially, in those who were refused entry into the United States is particularly perplexing given the extensive review that applicants for permanent residence undergo.  They have been thoroughly vetted."—Andrea Bjorklund

A renowned expert in international arbitration and litigation, international trade and international investment.

Topics: Trade and trades disputes.

andrea.bjorklund [at] (English)

Frédéric Mégret, Faculty of Law, McGill University

Topics : international criminal justice, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as general international law.

frederic.megret [at] (English, French)

Jose Mauricio Gaona, O’Brien fellow at McGill’s Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

"The real danger of President Trump’s ban is that it could become permanent.
There are two executive orders being challenged.
The first one is an indefinite ban on refugees traveling from Syria to the United States. This restriction is unconstitutional because it violates international treaties (UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and Asylum Protocol of 1967) and U.S. Congress Act (8 U.S.C.A Section 1225) as well as at least 15 U.S. Supreme Court direct precedents (going from Marbury v. Madison 1803 to Whitman v. America Trucking Associations, Inc. 2001 U.S. S. Ct.) concerning the separation-of-powers and nonlegislative-delegation doctrines. The President, in essence, cannot use executive orders to legislate indefinitely.  
The second executive order, i.e., a temporary restriction for 90 days to travel from and to seven Muslims countries, raises a different problem, which varies depending on the immigration status of the person challenging the constitutionality of the order. However, it is very likely that the Trump’s administration will try to persuade Congress to act, in which case the ban could become permanent. In brief, unlike the President, Congress has plenary immigration power over aliens (Fiallo v. Bell 1977 U.S. S. Ct.), which has enabled it in the pass to ban permanently foreign citizens based on their political beliefs (i.e., aliens have no right to enter the United States, Kleindienst v. Mandel 1972 U.S. S. Ct.). Once again, past is prologue."—Jose Mauricio Gaona

Topics : International legal scholar expert in the areas of constitutional, immigration, and international law

jm.gaona [at] (English, French, Spanish, Italian)


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