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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  February 5, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, february 5: is the trump immigration ban destined for supreme court review? differing views on the immigration ban among syrian refugees and immigrants living in pennsylvania. and jeff greenfield on the nation's political climate. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual
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and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. the trump administration has lost its first appeal of a federal court order halting its ban on immigration from seven predominantly muslim countries. early this morning, the ninth circuit court of appeals-- which covers the western united states-- upheld friday's temporary restraining order by a federal judge in seattle. the courts have halted enforcement of the 90 day ban on citizens from iran, iraq, libya, somalia, syria, and yemen from entering the u.s. the january 27 trump executive order also banned syrian refugees from entering the u.s.
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for 120 days. but the court order by judge james robart, a george w. bush appointee, applies nationwide and has stopped customs and border control agents from refusing admittance to immigrants and refugees with proper visas. it has also cleared the way for visa holders to board flights from overseas bound for the u.s. iraqi fuad sharef, who worked for a u-s contractor in iraq, took off from istanbul, turkey, today, with his wife and three children, en route to nashville. >> yeah, we are very excited. we are very happy. we are...finally, we have been cleared. we are allowed to enter the united states. >> sreenivasan: with the ban blocked, cleared citizens from the affected countries have begun arriving at u.s. airports. hundreds of protestors of the immigration ban gathered this weekend outside president trump's home in palm beach, florida, where he and the first lady are spending the weekend. in interviews on four networks today, vice president mike pence
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said the administration disagrees with the ninth circuit appeals court and will pursue appeals in other venues. >> president trump's made it clear that our administration is going to put the safety and security of the american people first, and the executive order that he put into effect was legal, it was appropriate, and our administration is going to be using all legal means at our disposal to challenge the judge's order. >> sreenivasan: pence also defended president's trump's personal criticisms via twitter, of the seattle judge whose ruling froze the immigration ban. >> every president has a right to be critical of the other branches as you noted, the simple fact is i think the american people welcome the candor of this president. >> sreenivasan: democratic senator amy klobuchar of minnesota said today the president's tweets belittling the seattle judge could affect confirmation hearings for his supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch. >> he's got to see that there are three equal branches of government here. and so when he attacks the independence of the judiciary, i think it does focus on the fight before us now.
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and that is that we want to see a nominee that is independent. >> sreenivasan: in an interview taped yesterday for tonight's super bowl pregame show on fox, the president was asked about russian president vladimir putin. >> do you respect putin? >> i do respect him. >> do you? why? >> well, i respect a lot people, but that doesn't mean i'm going to get along with him. putin's a killer. >> there are a lot of killers. we've got a lot of killers. what you think our country's so innocent? >> sreenivasan: this morning, vice president pence was asked if mister trump meant the u.s. and russia were morally equivalent. >> what you're hearing there is a determination by the president of the united states to not let semantics or the arguments of the past get in the way of exploring the ability to work together with russia and with president putin in the days ahead. specifically if you play the rest of that interview, he said he didn't know if we would be able to get along with him better. but the president's top priority is to hunt down and destroy isis at its source. we have a common interest with russia to do that. >> sreenivasan: one federal
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appeals court has weighed in on the trump administration's immigration ban, and should another appeals court in another region of the country offer a competing view -- that could set the debate on a direct path for the u.s. supreme court. to discuss the legal ups and downs of the immigration ban, i am joined from austin, texas, by university of texas law school professor steve vladeck, who's also the co-editor-in-chief of the "just security" blog. >> sreenivasan: so first of all, a little bit of legalese to clarify for the audience, what is the meaning of a temporary restraining order versus an injunction, it looks like seattle did one thing but not the other. >> the a temporary redescraing order or tro in legal parlance is a very preliminary order that is supposed to be, as it says temporary, it is supposed to freeze the status of the parties for long enough for the court to decide whether to take the next step which is whether to issue what is called a preliminary injunction. preliminary injunction could be indefinite and the idea behind the preliminary injunction is to keep that going for long enough for the courts to actually
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settle the merits of the underlying dispute and eventually to decide whether we should have a permanent injunction if the underlying policy is illegal or lift the injunction and let the order go into effect. >> sreenivasan: but the white house already went in and said this temporary restraining order doesn't work for them, so what t is the next appeal, what is the step they take a? >> sure, so they actually have now appealed to the ninth circuit, there is the federal appeals court in san francisco, and they basically said dear ninth circuit, we would like you to lift the temporary restraining order imposed by the federal district judge in seattle and we would like the ninth circuit to put back in place the executive order so we can continue to enforce it. the ninth circuit very late saturday night denied the government's request for an emergency stay, but is now considering whether it should keep that order by the district court in place, briefs are due all throughout the day on sunday and we might get a ruling from the ninth circuit as early as monday. >> sreenivasan: so the ninth circuit has jurisdiction over the seattle judge, right?
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but can the white house look for one of the other cases in the other parts of the country to go to an appeals court that might be more favorable to their point of view? >> they certainly can, for example is if there is an order issued in brooklyn, boston, detroit and also now a case a in los angeles and hawaii although the last two are unless the ninth circuit, the problem is it is denied a case is by far the furthest 0 along so very hard for the government to pick a different battlefield, i think at least for the moment it is the ninth circuit case where we have a nationwide stay in effect that is preventing the government from enforcing, which is exact, an executive order where is all the fighting is and potentially the first case to the supreme court. >> sreenivasan: and how long does it take for the ninth circuit to sort through this? they have to get a larger panel of judges to look at this now, right? >> well, it depends, i mean it only takes two judges to act on these kinds of emergency applications, and indeed the order that was signed very, very late saturday night was signed by exactly two judges.
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the ninth circuit could decide perhaps as early as monday to leave intact or to lift the order that the seattle district judge issued on friday, if they are going to decide on very narrow grounds. the more broadly the ninth circuit wants to rule, if they actually want to reach out and decide whether we will have some type of prelinary injunction going forward, what i would expect we will probably see a ruling tuesday or wednesday, then the question becomes whether whoever loses that round, which quite likely is going to be the trump administration, tries to go to the supreme court. >> sreenivasan: and even this morning, we heard vice president pence go out on all of the sunday shows and say, the president has the authority to do this, this is in the constitution, does he? >> well, i think it is worth stressing, we haven't answered that question yet so even the seattle order that was issued by the ninth was not based on the district court's conclusion that the executive order is illegal, it is based on the district court's conclusion that there is enough of a chance that it is illegal that to preserve the status quo, we have to take this preliminary step. i think at the end of the day
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when we finally get to the merits of these cases, some parts of the executive order will likely survive, others will almost certainly be invalidated but we are a long way off from that as opposed to this very preliminary stage where the question simply is how do we balance the equities, how do we preserve the status quo to allow the courts to reach those issues on a schedule with more time and with more care. >> sreenivasan: all right. ut austin law school professor steve vladeck, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: together, syria's immediate neighbors-- turkey, lebanon, and jordan-- host the majority of syrian refugees who have fled their war-torn homeland in the past six years. in the past 24 hours, refugees with approved visas to come to the u.s., have started to board flights again. reporter jane arraf is in jordan's capital, amman, and joins me by skype for that part of the story. >> sreenivasan: this is the multis you week for these people who have been fairly anxious and waiting a couple of years sometimes to get to the u.s. >> absolutely.
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it has been a really difficult journey or pretty much all of them. a lot of them here have left syria and really, in tough chances and try to eke out a living outside of the refugee camp and after hoping and waiting and they thought they had it made on their way to the airport, harry, they were called and told that was. going to happen. >> sreenivasan: have any of the families you have been speaking with and reporting through this week, have they gotten a phone call so to speak to say, okay, we know your badges are already packed, go ahead and go back to the airport now? >> they started getting those phone calls this afternoon. just after the travel ban was rescinded at least temporarily. they started receiving phone calls from u.n. agency that actually moves refugees, the international organization for migration, and the first calls were, would you be able and willing to leave tomorrow? and of course the, a lot of them said i will leave right now, i mean, these are people who have sold their belongings, they
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packed their bags, some of them have nowhere to stay, and so given the choice of being in limbo or leaving in the next few hours, they chose the next few hours. so just a few hours from now a lot, some of them will be at airports bound for flights, a long journey with several stops, through new york and chicago and other places so those are the first of the refugees that are going to be traveling after this travel ban was rescinded. >> sreenivasan: and as you mentioned not only have they packed up, but they have also left their jobs in many cases because they were expecting to be in the united states by this week? >> well, the reason that it is so precarious for refugees in this region is they are not allowed to legally work, so while a lot of the iraqis who had been accepted under the special program for military interpreters and people who worked for u.s. companies in iraq, they were in that position, a lot of the people here were essentially working
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illegally as laborers, and academics who are trying to make a living working in construction sites, former teachers working as maids, none of that is really legal in jordan, for instance, which is the biggest refugee processing center, but i did speak to one iraqi who left earlier because the u.s. has allowed under a special program to leave over the past couple of days, and he had left his job, he had left everything, i spoke to another refugee in beirut, who still hadn't been notified about whether their travel would be rescheduled, and his mother has cancer and needs treatment and she doesn't know when they will be able to travel or if they will be able to travel here in you jordan a lot of the the refugees having selling everything and saving 14 trip itself. >> sreenivasan: now, how easy is it for them to be canceled from a flight and then what purchase a brand-new ticket again? these are pretty expensive.
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>> they are pretty expensive so the way it works for refugees is the iom, the international organization for migration, which is the u.n. agency, puts them on a flight and picks up the paperwork but they have to pay them back back, so while some of them particularly the ones in the programs for special visas for people who work for u.s. companies can go on their own and purchase their own tickets, the vast majority of them are going on flights that are organized and paid for initially by the iom, but they do have to pay that money back once they are on their feet in the united states. >> sreenivasan: all right, jane arraf f joining us from amman jordan 0 tonight. thank you. po. >> thank you. >> >> sreenivasan: when the white house announced the executive order banning immigration by citizens of seven pre-dominantly muslim countries, including vetted refugees from syria. the first republican member of congress to say it should be halted was pennsylvania
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congressman charlie dent, who said, "this order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration to the wide- ranging impacts it will have." dent's district has a sizable syrian constituency, and "newshour weekend's" megan thompson traveled there to bring us this report. >> reporter: syrian refugee mohamad taleb and his seven- year-old son obaida are learning english at this class for refugees in eastern pennsylvania. taleb arrived in the united states a year and a half ago with his wife and four children. they settled in allentown, about 60 miles northwest of philadelphia, and far from the violence at home. >> it's such a rough thing to be in the middle of war and destruction and watch children dying in front of you. you just want to escape with your children. you're more afraid for your children than you are for yourself. >> reporter: allentown and surrounding lehigh county are
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home to around 4,200 residents of syrian descent, one of the largest syrian communities in the nation. they began arriving a century ago, working in silk and steel mills. about 100 are refugees from the current civil war. >> it falls on us as a local government. >> reporter: allentown mayor ed pawlowski, a democrat, says he's had to set up a new office to handle the flood of questions about the recent white house executive order on immigration. >> i think that has sparked a lot of fear within the community not even in the syrian community, but the community in general, among immigrants that what does this all mean and where is this going? >> reporter: president trump's executive order also worries mohamad taleb. his sister and her family remain back in the middle east. >> i'm honestly very upset by it. people are trying to come over here to have a chance at a decent life, to live in a better country, to live well. he's depriving people of that chance, and i wish he would reconsider and let people in again.
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>> reporter: taleb is muslim, as is his friend and fellow syrian refugee, abdul kader aldalati. aldalati says he thinks trump has every right to protect his country. but, even though the executive order doesn't mention specific religions, aldalati feels muslims have been singled out. >> before we came here, the first thing they taught us was that america doesn't tolerate racism whatsoever. >> reporter: now that you're here, are you seeing something different? >> definitely. >> reporter: while aldalati and taleb are muslim, many of the syrians in allentown are christian. and they're not all completely opposed to the executive order. like ayoub jarrouj. he came to the u.s. in the 1960's and now runs the syrian arab american charity association, which helped taleb's family resettle in allentown. >> if the ban is temporary, and if it is to check to see who's coming in here, check the background, i am for it. but to say ¡no more refugees, no
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more muslim refugees,' that's not fair. they love this country. they are doing a great job, and they are respected and loved by their neighbors. >> reporter: other syrian christians we met are more wary of those who want to come here. >> we are not against bringing the refugees over here, but we are against bringing the wrong refugees over here. >> reporter: aziz wehbey came to the u.s. in the 1990's and munzer haddad immigrated in the 1960's. they strongly support the executive order. so you see a difference between the people who are coming here now through our refugee program and people who immigrated here under circumstances like you did? >> yes. like the syrian refugees who are coming from jordan or from turkey. we do not know their background, their relations, while they were in syria, because we have no intelligent information from the syrian government since we have no communication with the syrian government.
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are the family been recruited by isis? do they have the radical mentality? >> if anything happen, god forbid. >> we don't want to lose our good reputation. >> and good standing. and good standing. we established a record in here since the 1800s. we established a good record- the syrian community in here- especially in the lehigh valley. >> reporter: both wehbey and haddad voted for president trump. they say their greatest wish is for him to help end the war in syria and improve relations with syrian president bashar al- assad, whom they also support. >> helping the refugees really, mainly is to help their country being stable again. >> reporter: for refugee mohamad taleb, waiting for the war to end was not an option. his family went through a year of interviews and investigation before the u.s. granted them visas. in allentown, taleb says, they now have more opportunities- he works as a welder, and his four kids are all in school.
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obaida says his favorite subject is math. do you know what you want to be when you grow up? >> a doctor. >> it's my hope that the doors of immigration will open for refugees again, and i hope the american community won't frame things in terms of labels like muslim or christian or jew, or any other religion for that matter. hear more from syrian refugees and immigrants living in pennsylvania. visit www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: to help us analyze the latest political developments surrounding the trump administration, i am joined from santa barbara, california, by "newshour weekend's" jeff greenfield. >> sreenivasan: jeff, you know, fox news made it a point to tease out some of what was going to come out in the interview before the interview with the president, we had a chance to see at least a good chunk of that excerpt that has been broadcast nationally, the comments about president putin and possibly almost a moral equivalence on the behavior on the part of america or american
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leadership, ever heard anything like that a? >> from republicans, not counting pat buchanan and ron paul, no, that is what is so striking about it, the notion that, you know, we are not the moral leaders of the world, we do bad things, you wouldn't expect that from norm -- harold zin or maybe bernie sanders but such a core belief am knowledge gop conservatives that democrats aren't sufficiently wedded to american exceptionalism, all the way back to gene kirkpatrick to the republican convention saying democrats always blame america first or the fact that president obama was on an apology term that, is the why this is so strong, the chaney, very tough on trump because as in a lot of other areas, trump is a heretic about some core republican beliefs and i don't know how this plays out, but it certainly is going to cause him a lot of free. i can't wait to see the "wall street journal" editorial page on this one. >> sreenivasan: jeff, let's talk a little bit about the
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comments the president made about the judge in seattle. this is what is going to spill out, i think, in the coming days and weeks. the fact that trump attacked the judge, calling him a so-called judge, a george w. bush nominated judge, confirmed unanimously by the senate with a conservative record is going to create questions in the senate judiciary committee to judge gorsuch how independent do you pledge to be from trump or any other president? and i think gorsuch's record suggests he is less deferential to presidential power than, say, late justice scalia was, but i think once again that kind of comment, what he said about the judge last year who was presiding over the trump university case suggests a kind of willingness to not just say that the judge was wrong but to go right after the judge on grounds of either core competence or even integrity, and i think judge gorsuch is going to be asked a lot of
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questions about that. >> sreenivasan: if the court in one of these scenarios is going to be more unified in protecting its own turf or from perhaps the overreach of the executive branch? >> that is the question that chief justice roberts probably is wrestling with, you know, the one time he broke with the conservatives on the affordable care act i think if he had been an associate justice he wouldn't have voted that way, he was in my view trying to protect the court from being thrown in the political thicket but one thing i think we know is that every conservative who backed trump with reservations did so because he was going to deliver them the supreme court. and so i think the idea that there is going to be any hesitancy to invoke the so-called nuclear option is misplaced. they are going to do whatever they can to get that court back in a conservative majority. >> sreenivasan: all right, jeff greenfield, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> >> this is pbs newshour weekend, sunday.
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>> sreenivasan: in turkey today, police rounded up 445 suspected islamic state members and supporters in pre-dawn raids across the country. it's the government's biggest operation yet targeting isis at home. government-run media said most of the detainees are foreigners, and claimed nine of them were planning a terrorist attack in the city of izmir. in afghanistan, officials say more than 50 people have been killed in avalanches during the last three days in the mountainous eastern part of the country. the avalanches, which also destroyed 150 homes, came after a weather system produced seven feet of snow. snow and ice on the runways forced the kabul international airport to close, and major roads were blocked, with people trapped in cars and buses. a centrist french presidential candidate in france, former economy minister emmanuel macron, is issuing an unusual invitation to american scientists, academics, and entrepreneurs. at a rally this weekend, macron called on americans orking on climate change, renewable energy, and health care, who may be unhappy with the current political situation in the u.s.,
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to move to france. the 39-year-old macron said he plans to make france "a land of innovation" should he win presidential election this spring. an investigation by the publication "military times" finds the u-s. military is under-reporting the number of airstrikes in afghanistan, iraq, and syria. according to today's article, the pentagon has failed to disclose thousands of lethal operations since the war on terror began in 2001. for example, the article finds last year's statistics don't include 456 army-led airstrikes carried out with drones and helicopters in afghanistan. one army official told the" military times" he doesn't consider combat attacks by helicopters to be "airstrikes."" the military times" says the discrepancies raise questions about how data is used to assess the cost and effectiveness of american combat operations. >> sreenivasan: two super bowl mvps, quarterback kurt warner
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and running back terrell davis are among the seven newly- elected members of pro football's hall of fame. warner went from bagging groceries to leading the st. louis rams in winning their only super bowl. davis was a league-leading rusher who helped the denver broncos win two super bowls. another new inductee is kicker morten andersen, who played 25 seasons and happens to be the nfl's all-time leading scorer. tonight in houston, the new england patriots attempt their fifth championship in super bowl 51 against the atlanta falcons, going for the franchise's first. that's all for this edition of" pbs newshour weekend." i'm hari sreenivasan. good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. provided by:upport has been and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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