Recently, Rep. Peters joined 70 House Democrats in demanding a full accounting of who was consulted in the drafting of President Trump’s ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. The demand was described in a February 1 piece for the Los Angeles Times, posted below:
California’s Rep. Scott Peters asks for a report on how Trump’s entry ban was written and implemented
By Sarah D. Wire
February 1, 2017
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) is asking for a full accounting of who was consulted in the drafting of President Trump’s ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. by citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Peters and 70 House Democrats have asked for a report from the Government Accountability Office detailing what input was solicited from federal agencies before the order was issued, how the Department of Homeland Security was told to enforce it, and what kind of legal analysis was done before the order was signed by Trump on Friday afternoon. The report would also include communications about the administration, all of which could be used when the order is challenged in court, Peters said.
The order, which prohibits travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days, threw airports into chaos over the weekend. Big protests sprouted up at airports as hundreds of people were detained in U.S. airports or suddenly prevented from getting onto planes headed to the U.S. The order also indefinitely blocks refugees from Syria and blocks refugees from all other countries for 120 days.
“Executive orders that immediately affect millions of families and the economic and security interests of the United States should be vetted by agency experts and counsel, not White House political staff,” Peters said. “If the true intent … was to make our nation more secure, his own national security officials would have known how to enforce the order before it was signed.”
Seventeen California Democrats signed the letter.
The Government Accountability Office is the largest congressional support agency. It conducts nonpartisan investigations and audits of government spending, programs and policies at the request of individual members of Congress. It usually agrees to such requests.
Also related to the travel ban this week, Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) is filing legislation on Thursday to create a national fund to pay for attorneys for refugees and green card holders caught up by the executive order. The administration has signaled that the ban could last longer, and Correa said he doesn’t believe it will be lifted after 90 days.
He said he believes the current vetting of refugees and visa holders is sufficient, but if the president is worried some people are slipping through the cracks, then they deserve due process.
“It’s very simple, let’s get to the bottom of this,” Correa said. “Let’s really look at the case and if this person is really a threat or not.”