On his inauguration as president of the United States, on January 20, Donald Trump took the oath of office in accordance with the US Constitution. He swore that he would to the best of his ability “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” A week later, on January 27, he signed an executive order on immigration that was manifestly unconstitutional. It indefinitely barred Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from admission for 90 days.
After the order was signed, students, visitors and holders of green cards who were lawful US residents – as well as refugees from around the world – were stopped at airports in the United States and abroad. Some were blocked from entering the country and others were sent back overseas. US Customs and Border Protection instructed airlines to stop passengers from the banned countries from boarding flights and to remove any who had already done so. Airline crew members from the seven countries were also barred from the United States. American diplomats were told to stop visa interviews from those countries and to halt any pending visas. University presidents tried to reassure foreign-born faculty and students that they would not be harmed.
In making his order, Trump showed his supporters that he would keep the promises he made to them during his campaign. But his presidential oath of office was not made only to his supporters. He promised to God to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution in the interests of all the people.
The order was made while British Prime Minister Theresa May was in flight to Ankara to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and conclude an arms deal with him. A few hours earlier, she had paid tribute to Trump in the hope of securing a favorable trade deal after the UK leaves the European Union. Trump spoke of the “very special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom.