The Cable

The Immigration Ban Goes to Court, A Deadly Mosque Shooting in Quebec, France’s Presidential Race Heats Up: The Weekend Behind, the Week Ahead

Here's a round-up of top stories from the world this weekend


The fate of the tired, huddled masses, and of the country famed for welcoming them, could come down to the courts.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia — was partially blocked by a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday. Specifically, the judge ruled that U.S. officials could not deport those detained at the airport.

But on Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying, “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.” It later clarified that the entry of lawful permanent residents was in the “national interest,” and that it would comply with judicial orders and carry out the executive order, which the White House is reportedly expected to rewrite.

While thousands around the country protested the ban outside of airports, Team Trump made the Sunday morning show circuit, defending the executive order and saying that the 109 detained — including an Iranian scientist on a fellowship, Syrian refugees, and an Iraqi citizen who had worked for the U.S. government for 10 years — made up but a small portion of the immigrant population.

And just hours after America’s northern neighbor rejected the ban, gunmen opened fire on a mosque in Quebec City, killing six and wounding eight. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack as a “terrorist attack on Muslims.” The debate over the U.S. immigration ban cast a shadow over the tragedy, as Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard alluded to in a statement Sunday evening. “We should not withdraw and become a closed society because of such a terrible event,” Couillard said. “On the contrary, as I indicated, we have to keep working together, striving towards an open, inclusive, peaceful society. That’s the right response to this terrible event.”

Back in Washington, the battle between the executive branch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which brought the case against the immigration ban, is likely to be settled in court. Some senators — such as the dynamic duo of John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — issued statements condemning the executive order and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday he would ask for a vote to overturn the executive order. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Sunday that “the courts” will decide whether the executive order is too broad.

And so, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel wonders whether Trump understood her explanation of the significance of America’s signatory status on the Geneva Refugee Convention, and while Iraq and Iran issue retaliatory bans, and while public and politicians alike in the United Kingdom pressure their government to withdraw Trump’s invitation to a state dinners, the world will watch the courts and the White House’s response.

Incidentally, Trump’s pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court could be announced this week.

Meanwhile, in the race for France’s next president: National Front candidate Marine Le Pen’s Socialist Party challenger will be Benoît Hamon, and not, as some had suspected, former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Hamon is further to the left than Valls, who conceded after losing a run-off vote on Sunday. Hamon’s is candidacy will likely secure the immediate irrelevance of France’s Socialist Party, said Sheri Berman, a European politics expert at Barnard College. But, Berman added, “this may very well rattle the final Presidential outcome, giving [center-left candidate Emmanuel] Macron a much better chance since he and Valls would have been competing for ‘center-left’ and even center voters.” With center-right candidate François Fillon’s embroiled in scandal, Macron may be the French establishment’s best chance to stop Marine Le Pen’s far-right candidacy.

Kavitha Surana contributed to this post.

Photo credit: Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is the U.S. editor of the New Statesman and the author of The Influence of Soros, published July 2020. Twitter: @emilyctamkin

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