Yesterday I wondered what kind of progress the Trump administration had made on its new immigration rules. They ought to be nearly finished by now, making the court case over Trump’s executive order moot. Well, it turns out the judges in that case had the same question:
During Monday’s hearing, judges also questioned the government about the status of its review of immigration vetting procedures. Why does the Trump administration continue insisting on 90- and 120-day travel suspensions, they asked, if it’s already had so much time to improve vetting procedures? Judge Stephanie Thacker said the portion of Trump’s order calling for a vetting review was in place for nearly two months.
“Was any vetting (review) done in those 50 days?” she said.
Wall said government attorneys have interpreted court rulings as barring them from doing so.
“We’ve put our pens down,” he said. “We haven’t done any work on it.”
The earlier stays of the EO obviously don’t bar the government from working on new immigration rules. I’m not even sure a court could do that. This is a childish excuse, but that’s the one they’re going with.
Trump’s contempt for the American public here is breathtaking. Keep in mind that this is supposedly a matter of grave national security, which is why the first EO had to be issued without any warning. But now Trump is treating it like a schoolyard game: if the courts won’t let him have his way, he’s taking his ball and going home. And if some visitor from Yemen ends up killing a bunch of people, well, maybe next time we’ll listen to him.
There aren’t a lot of alternatives here. The first is that Trump believes his immigration order is a serious matter of national security, but he doesn’t care about national security as much as does about winning a court case. The second is that Trump never believed it mattered much, but implemented it in the most chaotic way possible as a PR stunt. Either way it’s revolting.