A friend complained to me that when Obama first singled out the 7 nations excluded by President Trump's travel ban, that no one (read CNN) reported it, and now everyone is complaining and calling President Trump a racist.
I went looking to see how much of this was true...
CNN actually DID report on the new law suspending the visa waiver program in 2015. The new law provided that people from certain countries (5 originally, but later amended to include 7) could NO LONGER enter without a visa under the visa waiver program. In other words, they had to be vetted and receive a visa before entry.
I'm not sure why this law is attributed to Obama, since the Republican controlled Congress enacted it. CNN calls it a "GOP proposal, which top House Democrats have endorsed.” President Obama did call for a revisit of this program in his speech Dec. 6 and it was enacted during his administration.
The Executive Order originally posted by the White House effectuating the "Muslim ban" or "travel ban" as it came to later be known applies to EVERYONE, including those already here with visas and the so-called green card holders, which allows foreign nationals to live and work here permanently.
Recognizing from the furor that there was a problem, the White House counsel's office then issued a memo to try to limit the Executive Order so it didn’t apply to existing visa holders.
However, one cannot change an Executive Order by memo. It is a general principle of law that mere memos don't supersede laws or Executive Orders, and the court opinion confirms that:
"The Government has offered no authority establishing that the White House counsel is empowered to issue an amended order superseding the Executive Order signed by the President and now challenged by the States, and that proposition seems unlikely.”
That said, the court could have said the memo was good to clarify the law and reviewed the law on that basis. They did not, but it seems legally sound to me not to re-write a poorly written order for the President. This is particularly true where the guidance on how to implement the Order changed over time, as they tried to sort out what they really wanted to do.
See e.g., the wiki entry;
"Initially, on the evening of Friday, January 27, the Department of Homeland Security sent out a guidance to airlines stated "lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA." CNN reported that it was overruled by the White House overnight. Early Saturday, January 28, the Department of Homeland Security's Acting Press Secretary Gillian Christensen said in an e-mail to Reuters that the order barred green-card holders from the affected countries. By Saturday afternoon White House officials said they would need a case-by-case waiver to return. On Sunday White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that green-card holders would not be prevented from returning to the United States.”
The 14th amendment has applied to aliens for more than 100 years, which is why the Executive Order is clearly unconstitutional and must be rewritten. See this article for a summary of that evidence. It is for this reason that the travel ban was suspended. The solution of course is to rewrite the order so that it passes constitutional muster.
As to the charge that the media is making President Trump out to be a racist, well, that is opinion, not subject to fact checking. I would only note that President Trump's allegations against Illinios born Judge Curiel seem to speak for themselves.
PS. The order has now been revoked, and the new replacement order has been posted. The travel ban now only include six countries (Iraq no longer included) and applies only to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:
(i) are outside the United States on the effective date of this order;
(ii) did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017; and
(iii) do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.