This Week’s Hearings:
- On Tuesday, February 7, the House Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Ending the Crisis: America’s Borders and the Path to Security.”
- On Wednesday, February 8, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support has scheduled a hearing titled “Current Readiness of U.S. Forces.”
- On Wednesday, February 8, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “A Look Ahead: Inspector General Recommendations for Improving Federal Agencies.” The Honorable John Roth, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will testify at the hearing.
Executive Branch Activity
Federal Judge Denies Trump Administration Request to Restore Travel Ban
The debate over President Donald Trump’s recent visa restrictions moved to the courts this week, as opponents filed challenges across the country and administration officials defended the President’s action. On Friday, February 3, a Federal District Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking implementation of portions of the Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017, in a case filed by a group of states opposing the President’s action. The restraining order temporarily reverses a prohibition on entry into the United States by immigrant and nonimmigrant visa holders from select countries and admissions under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). (Notably, a limit of 50,000 USRAP admissions in 2017 remains in effect.) The TRO applies nationwide, beyond the states that filed the action.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied an appeal from the Department of Justice for an emergency stay pending formal appeal of the District Court judge’s decision. Attorneys for the U.S. government argued that the Constitution authorizes the President to implement the visa ban contained in the Executive Order and questioned the breadth of the order, which they noted conflicted with the ruling of another Federal judge in Boston. Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed that they have suspended implementation of the Executive Order as required by the TRO and are working to reverse the revocation of an estimated 60,000 visas that had been impacted by the President’s action.