KC immigration lawyers question Trump's executive order

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-30 20:07:37-05

Two immigration lawyers in the Kansas City metro are asking, "What is 'extreme vetting?'"

Mira Mdivani of Mdivani Corporate Immigration Law Firm has been practicing immigration law for 18 years.

"It is absolutely unprecedented," said Mdivani in response to whether she's seen anything resembling President Trump's Executive Order. "My clients and myself are in a state of absolute disbelief that we're having to deal with violations of constitutional law of this proportion."

Multiple federal judges have issued decisions challenging the immigration policy that detained 109 people attempting to enter the United States. Those legal blocks allowed the 109 to continue to their American destination. One of those detained is a client of Mdivani's.

"She was questioned. She was harassed," said Mdivani. "It is not clear whether she will want to come back to the United States again and whether she would want to continue to expand her business in the United States."

Mdivani says her client owns a manufacturing facility in Kansas City and declined to say which airport she was detained at.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the executive order in his Monday briefing.

"You don't know when the next threat's coming. You don't know when the next attack's coming. And so the best you can do is to get ahead of it because if you wait, you're going to be reacting. And what I want to clear on is the president's not going to wait. He's going to make sure he does everything in his power, when he can, to protect the homeland and its people. That's it. And so getting ahead of threats is the key. Not waiting until they happen. Not saying hey, once it happens, how do we react to it to make sure it doesn't happen again. I think what I want to be clear about is that since becoming president, he's continued to take steps through executive order and otherwise to make sure that this country is as safe as it can be and we're ahead of every threat. We're talking about a universe of 109 people. There were 325,000 people that came into this country over a 24-hour period from another country. 109 of them were stopped for additional screening. We've got to keep this in proportion."

Mdivani says the situation was much more than an inconvenience for those detained and their employers.

"When employers don't know if their workers on green cards and legitimate business visas are not allowed to come back on Monday to their work because they happen to be born in one of those countries, that's not a mere inconvenience, that is a constitutional crisis," said Mdivani.

Mdivani and fellow immigration lawyer Micahel Sharma-Crawford say president Trump's policy of "extreme vetting" is dangerously undefined.

"We're being thrown a word that we're asked to take faith that has no definition and no concept of what is lacking," said Sharma-Crawford. "Nobody said 'what's the harm, what didn't work? What needs to be repaired?' That discussion hasn't occurred yet."

Sharma-Crawford says those wishing to come to America legally that are currently prohibited under Trump's executive order, are already well vetted.

What's the screening process for refugees before they come to the U.S.? 

Refugees must first apply to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After that, UNHCR decides which country the refugee will be sent to. 

See the document below for additional screening procedures for refugees chosen to go to the United States. 


"What's extreme vetting? What is more? Are we going to start waterboarding our refugee folks to say 'Tell us the truth about who you are?' Are we going to run another set of fingerprints? are we going to bring them here and put them in camps and watch them for awhile? What are the alternatives other than the process that we're already undergoing?" said Sarma-Crawford.