An Undocumented Future: MN Immigration Legal Challenges

By Laura Oakes, WCCO Radio

This week, WCCO Radio tackles the issue of immigration with a series of stories from Minnesota, “An Undocumented Future: Minnesota in a New Age of Immigration.”

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So just what is going on with the legal challenges to President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders that sought to keep residents from certain countries out of the U.S.?

The original order signed by Trump prompted chaos and protests at airports across the country, as some people with the proper documentation were detained by immigration and customs enforcement patrols.

Eventually the first executive order was stayed, and it was back to the drawing board for Trump, who — quietly this time — issued a second executive order designed to fix the problems with the first one.

This one excluded Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily blocked from entering the U.S. But University of Minnesota immigration law professor Regina Jeffries says it still didn’t make sense.

“Most people would step back and say, ‘Does this accomplish the objective that it’s set out to accomplish?’ And I think the answer is no,” she said.

Jeffries was among the many volunteer attorneys who helped some of the original detainees at Twin Cities airport navigate the legal process. She says the bigger question involves due process, which is intended to guard against arbitrary action by the government.

“It shouldn’t just be random. And that’s the problem, is that it’s random. But it’s really not random. If you’re Muslim, you’re far more likely to be caught up in it,” she said.

The second executive order remains in the appellate court system. Whether it will be reinstated is unclear. Jeffries says Minnesota has a lot to lose if it indeed goes back into effect.

“We have a huge population of refugees. For example the University runs on contributions from millions of people from all over. There’s a lot at stake,” she said.

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