Are President Trump's executive orders unconstitutional?

Feb 1, 2017

Many of California’s elected officials have been speaking out against President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. 

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill this week to rescind the order limiting travel to the U.S. by some Muslims and refugees. It was blocked by Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton.

While Republicans control both Houses of Congress, California’s delegation looks much different. In fact, according to the L.A. Times, forty of the state’s 53 representatives in Washington — all Democrats — have expressed their opposition to the executive order via social media or official statements.  

Representative Jackie Speier of Hillsborough said “we already do exhaustive vetting”. Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland said “this is not who we are.” And Representative Mark DeSaulnier of Concord called it “morally reprehensible” and “unconstitutional.”

We wanted to dig into that statement: Is the President’s executive order constitutional? So we contacted Julia Harumi Mass, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California who leads their work on immigrant rights. KALW’s Ben Trefny sat down to talk with her in the studio.

MASS: We know, based on his prior statements, that this is very connected to this anti-Muslim religious intolerance. That’s discrimination, and it’s not allowed under our Constitution.

You can hear an extended version of this conversation, including discussions of border policing and sanctuary cities, here.