Editor’s Note: This post was written by Kaitlyn Smith.
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. The controversy and high party polarization surrounding the election generated hostility towards President Trump, posing challenges for his administration. During his tenure, one challenge President Trump will face is immigration, specifically concerning the Middle East. However, President Trump will also have an opportunity to pass major legislation through a unified government.
During his presidency, President Trump will face challenges concerning his immigration agenda. Recently, President Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries determined to be a threat to U.S. national security. The seven countries under the travel ban include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Public opposition to the travel ban was widespread, with massive protests sweeping the country. However, the public’s opposition to the ban was not the only challenge Trump would face. The first judicial challenge to the ban came from Judge James L. Robart, a federal district judge, whose ruling blocked parts of the travel ban and prevented its administration. The Trump administration immediately appealed the decision. However, another roadblock occurred as a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the federal judge’s ruling, preventing President Trump from reinstating the ban. Although President Trump still has the opportunity to appeal, an eight person Supreme Court will most likely put the decision at 4-4, leaving the appellate court’s ruling in place. This would not only stop President Trump’s travel ban, but could threaten his immigration policy concerning the Middle East in the future. If the President’s travel ban does not survive the Supreme Court, he will face the challenge of either having to create a new travel ban that is constitutional, or having to forgo his immigration policy concerning the Middle East, thus breaking a campaign promise to his supporters.
During his tenure, President Trump will have the opportunity to pass major legislation through a unified government. Both houses of Congress and the presidency are currently controlled by Republicans, and with the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Republicans will soon control all three branches. This is an opportune moment for the Trump administration to pass key pieces of legislation. President Trump made two major campaign promises: that he would repeal and replace Obamacare and would construct a wall along the border with Mexico. Despite being heavily opposed to these two major pieces of legislation, Democrats only have the power to filibuster in the Senate, leaving them with few options to challenge or block the Trump administration’s agenda. Without congressional gridlock, President Trump can pass these key pieces of legislation with few roadblocks.
Overall, the Trump administration will be presented with both challenges and opportunities throughout the duration of the presidency. Recent checks on President Trump’s travel ban have currently halted action on immigrants from the Middle East. However, the Trump administration has the opportunity to pass key pieces of legislation through a unified Republican government.