Behind All The Shouting About Immigration

There have been all kinds of demonstrations around the US regarding President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. From my perspective these have missed the point. As always, the original documents provide much insight.

First, is what he did legal? While a couple of points may not stand judicial review, the enabling statute is 8 US Code 1882, which says in part:

Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.

Seems quite clear that he has the power.

Next, is the Executive Order “unconstitutional” as Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says? He claims it is unconstitutional because he says it is singling out Muslims … but given that there are some forty-seven Muslim majority countries, and the order temporarily bans not just Muslims but ALL people from seven of the forty-seven countries, I doubt that will wash.

Next, is such a temporary ban unusual in world affairs? Not at all. Obama did the same with respect to the Iraqis, Carter did it with Iranians, put a temporary freeze on entry into the US. And internationally, there are more than a dozen countries which do not allow Israeli citizens into their country, ever. Not a temporary ban, a permanent ban.

Next, why did he do it? The text of the Executive Order says:

In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

This is quite an astonishing paragraph. It is the first time I have ever seen any official US  immigration document that said we do NOT want people here who engage in honor killings or other forms of violence against women, or those who persecute Christians or members of other religions.

I see this as outstanding news for women and for everyone.

Can we keep them all out, those cowards who kill women for “honor”? No way … but it is great news that at least we are acknowledging the problem and doing something about it.

Next, how big a current problem are we looking at regarding those detained in the airports? It seems that there are about a hundred people left in detention nationally, because they are slowly being cleared and released, but the exact number is unknown. They are being dealt with individually, just as was specifically spelled out in the Executive Order, viz:

Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

Dozens and dozens of people have already been released to be with friends, relatives, and even a fiancée, on those grounds.

Yesterday more than 300,000 travelers came into the US. A hundred of them are in detention. Other than a few problematic cases the rest will be released soon. For example, the last of  the nine people who were in detention at Dallas-Fort Worth airport were released today.immigration-ii

As usual, the protests and the news media are focused on the wrong end of the stick. They’ve grabbed the unimportant part. The people in temporary detention at the airports are a three-day wonder—Dallas is already history. Not only that, but Democrats disrupting air travelers is not good optics. The political left makes that mistake constantly. As soon as something happens, they block the nearest transportation route—a freeway, a road, a bridge, or in this case LA airport, which is packed to the max with protestors. Regardless of the nobility of your cause, keeping some harried mother from making it home to her kids after a long day at work does NOT make her bless you and wish you well, oh no, it does not …

Next, the pundits and commentators keep asking, why those seven countries and not others? Why Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia? Why not say Saudi Arabia, where Osama and the 9/11 terrorists came from?

Two reasons. First, the main issue regarding refugees is getting solid information about who they are, what they’ve done, where they’re from, who they’re related to, and the like. To get that information, you MUST have a solid, stable, and at least somewhat friendly government in place in their country of origin.

Of all those countries, only Iran is solid and stable, but it is not friendly in the least. And again unlike Saudi Arabia, all of the rest have locally strong terrorist movements, local fighting and unrest, weak governments, and active terrorist recruitment going on.

The second reason those seven countries were picked because wisely, while the pundits and commentators want to fight the last war, the Administration wants to fight the next war. The next war is the war on ISIS.

So, for example, to date no terrorist from Somalia has killed an American. But the Somali refugee community in Minnesota is strongly in favor of the woman-torturing Sharia law, three men from the Minnesota Somali community were convicted of terrorism, and a number of young Somali refugees have already left the US to go fight for ISIS.

So yes, Somalia should definitely on the list of those we need to watch.

[Edited to add] Someone on Twitter pointed out that these seven countries were actually selected by the Obama Administration.

Anyhow, that’s the law and constitution and protests and why the countries were chosen, the unimportant part of the story.

Which leads to the important part of the story, the part behind all the shouting, which is what the Executive Order reveals about all the things we have NOT been doing to date. Some, but far from all of what we are NOT doing is spelled out in Paragraph 4 (a) of the Executive Order, which I’ll consider a bit at a time:

Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs. 

(a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, as part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission.

Why is this important? Because it means that to date, we have no overall program in place to see if we can identify people who want to cause us harm. While this has been acceptable in the past, in this time of a resurgent militant Islamic jihadism we can no longer be so blasé.

This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as

in-person interviews;

YIKES! We’re letting people in without ever seeing them face to face? How do we know if such a person even exists?

a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants;

This is too good. Despite my impression that we had grownups in charge of the vetting, this is just like the theater in my hometown. You must have had it in your town, where some teenager would get into an “R” rated movie on a fake ID. Then that ID would be taken outside (with a ticket in hand to get back in of course) and some other teenager  would come in on the same ID.

I can understand that laxity for the local cinema … but for keeping potential terrorists out of the US? We haven’t been stopping that? This is where my hair catches on fire …

amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;

Again a glaring omission. We actually know quite a bit these days about how to frame a questionnaire designed to expose contradictions in the answers. We need to do that.

a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be;

Yeah, that does seem like it would be necessary …

a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest;

It’s not at all clear how this can be done. However, it is indeed crucial to do whatever we can in this realm. If you want to be a Swiss citizen, you need to learn to speak a local language and know and demonstrate that you understand and accept and support the local customs. Makes sense to me.

and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.

Most assuredly.

One other thing that I’ve read but was not mentioned in the Executive Order is that the Immigration people are not allowed to look at the social media of the applicant … which in the year 2017 is likely to be the largest single source of information about the applicant.

This also doesn’t even touch the problem with visa overstayers, people who come on a legitimate visa and then just stay … and currently, we don’t know who they are, where they are, or how many there are.

Look, I’m not a fool. There will still be people who will slip through. But that is no excuse for not doing whatever we can to ensure that the people who come here do so to ENJOY America and our freedoms and beliefs, and not to CHANGE America and our freedoms and beliefs.


• The protests miss the point entirely. We needed to TEMPORARILY shut the door on the most dangerous countries while we patch up and fix our badly broken refugee and immigration system.

• It is clear from the list above that we most assuredly need a top-to-bottom review of our vetting process. The current process turns out to be a sick joke. We don’t meet face-to-face, we’re not looking at social media, we’re about as watchful as my local cinema … pathetic.

• The seven countries on the list were picked because they pose the greatest danger to the US, from a combination of local unrest, local terrorist movements, and strong local terrorist recruitment efforts. A ninety-day ban on entry from these countries until we get the vetting figured out is totally justified.

My best to everyone,


PS—Please QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS THAT YOU ARE DISCUSSING so we can all be clear about your subject.


69 thoughts on “Behind All The Shouting About Immigration

  1. Seems reasonable to me; and I am not an American (US Citizen). Many decades ago I spent about 4 years as a Landed Immigrant in Canada (in the mining industry) before I returned to Australia.
    (As a point of interest, I was approached by a member of the Canadian Liberal party to register as a voter. When I stated that I was not (yet) a Canadian citizen, although I was about 18 months short of the qualifying period, the response was that this did not “matter”.) I guess that the Libs needed votes to overcome the Union National in Quebec. Seems that the method for the registration of voters (then) used in parts of Canada and the US had problems even in the very early 1970s.
    My experience with US immigration covered the 1970s and the 1980s; and always on a Business visa. Most of the Immigration staff at the points of entry were unfailingly polite, and I was rarely delayed more than a few minutes. The exception was in Hawaii (then a common point of entry). Some of them were regularly ignorant, to the point of rudeness.
    On one trip to Denver I advised immigration that my visit was for about 3 weeks. When it got to 5 weeks, I telephoned the Federal center (centre) in Denver and had a polite and productive conversation with a couple of officers. No problem. My experience was that MOST of the Immigration officers were professional. I had as many poor experiences with Immigration officers in Australia (returning on an Australian passport) as I had with US Immigration. Both FEW.
    I am certain of two things:
    1. That US Immigration is working as hard as possible to handle the changed rules, and,
    2. The actions of Trump’s “troops” are necessary and, probably, years late. (No fault of the present administration though).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well written and easily understood article. The only issue I have had with the popularly accepted line on the 9-11 attackers being Saudi is the small fact that the Saudis among them were all under sentence of death in Saudi Arabia. Two of them gained entrance to America because they were under sentence of death in their homeland. And they repaid us by attacking us. I know! Just minor and inconsequential points that don’t matter. Oh, well.


    • Thanks, Hotel. The Saudis are quite concerned about hardcore Islamic jihadists, because the Saudis are the caretakers of Mecca and the Kaaba. The radicals tend to look on the Saudis as not being proper custodians and failing to promote the true Islam and would like to overthrow the Monarchy. So as you point out the Saudis do pursue local militants through the justice system … and that’s one reason they’re not on the list.



      • “The radicals tend to look on the Saudis as not being proper custodians and failing to promote the true Islam”
        Dr. Yousaf Butt, a senior advisor to the British American Security Information Council and director at the Cultural Intelligence Institute would appear to disagree (as would other sources):
        “It would be troublesome but perhaps acceptable for the House of Saud to promote the intolerant and extremist Wahhabi creed just domestically. But, unfortunately, for decades the Saudis have also lavishly financed its propagation abroad. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought that more than $100 billion have been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. It might well be twice that number. By comparison, the Soviets spent about $7 billion spreading communism worldwide in the 70 years from 1921 and 1991.
        This appears to be a monumental campaign to bulldoze the more moderate strains of Islam, and replace them with the theo-fascist Saudi variety. Despite being well aware of the issue, Western powers continue to coddle the Saudis or, at most, protest meekly from time to time.”
        Some Europeans are finally realizing that the export of Wahhabism isn’t just to “poorer Muslim nations”. It appears that when it comes to radical Islam, money is still the master corrupter in the West. Saudi (and other similar Islamic countries) does not allow other religions (especially Christianity) and does not take in any “refugees” from war torn areas. Amazing that Western liberals somehow think that it would (apparently) be okay to just take in whole populations of Islamics when those countries become unstable. Based on rudimentary historical observations, most fundamental Islamists require dictators to keep them in line and this would not appear to be the best kind to accept in Western societies.


        • Thanks BFL. I see my meaning wasn’t clear. The Saudis don’t mind their own version of extremists, they are Wahabis after all, but there are plenty of jihadis out there that are anathema to the Kingdom. It’s the usual Muslim snakepit where every faction hates every other faction, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend except for when he’s my enemy which is all the time …



        • The House of Saud supports the spread of Wahabism, which Shi’a and Sunni both consider subversive and anti-islam, just as they consider each other to be subversive and anti-islam. Go figure.


  3. A trivial point, perhaps, but it might detract from an otherwise forceful and sensible post: Switzerland doesn’t have its own language. The Swiss speak variously French, German, or Italian, depending on the part of the country where they live.


  4. We in UK are experiencing the likes of the BBC/Press constantly griping about this…on and freaking on it goes. About 1 million fools have signed an online petition to our Westminster swamp to prevent entry for DT to visit the Queen this year. Its an invitation by the Queen presented by Mrs May and not the UK Govt swamp. Missed that didn’t they?

    That Executive Order is a simple piece of common sense. We have a problem with the dual nationality thing…another concern that stretches right into our swamp and various so called celebrities.

    BTW: Last year my wife was called to a UK Passport Office for a face to face interview at passport renewal. She is Scottish and has held 3 previous UK passports. A random check I suspect? She got it alright but that did surprise us.


    • I’m in the UK and if you look at the ‘heat’ map most of the signatures supporting the petition are mainly from London and other cities, especially ones with students. Reports say they got 1,000 signatures a minute, which is suspicious. I doubt the website gives that much bandwidth to each petition they’re hosting. There were reports last year that bots were used on the petition to run the referendum a second time after Brexit. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case here.

      Unfortunately it has now passed the threshold where a debate needs to be held in Parliament which will be a waste of time. The petition only asks that DJT be allowed into the country but the Queen must not host a state banquet for him as it would embarrass her. As the invite has already been issued and accepted I would suggest it would be more embarrassing for the Queen to withdraw the invitation.

      So many of these things are done as an emotional knee jerk reaction based on identity politics. They focus on the person and ignore the office or position held. Personally I wouldn’t do the Queen’s job for anything. Hosting Heads of State, like Robert Mugabe, and leaders from other countries where human rights are abused and having to entertain and smile for the cameras is not exactly my idea of a good time. I have no doubt she has some trenchant comments to say in private regardless of what she does in public. Her husband certainly does!


      • Thanks for that, Rossa. You have petitions that can force a debate in Parliament? We have nothing like that. Of late we have petitions to the WH that require that the WH reply to the question if it reaches a certain threshold, but that’s all. I wouldn’t want an online petition to be able to force a debate in Congress. People are too easily swayed to the passion of the moment.

        On the other hand, you have the unmatched institution of the Prime Minister’s Questions, which would be a marvelous addition here. I’d love to see the DOTUS go mano-a-mano with Chuck Schumer …

        As to being the Queen, best and worst job on the planet, she has my full support. I could never do it, I’m nowhere near politically correct enough. And upon reflection, the job of The Artist Currently Known As Prince would actually be worse. Poor bugger is my age and still waiting to go to work … although I can’t stand his politics, my heart goes out to the poor man.

        All the best,



        • Thank you Willis. Yes, we do have a mechanism but it has been co-opted by people to get matters debated that really are a waste of time. Just like this one. So it’s an imperfect system at best. Our Parliamentary debates are televised and like so many others, this will be poorly attended and has no chance of succeeding. But then it does make for good ‘click bait’ for the media to then use to persuade advertisers to part with money. Nothing more than a merry-go-round (think you would know that as a carousel)!

          I am not a fan of Prince Charles. As you already know he is a big supporter of AGW by whatever name it is known by now. He has recently put his name to a Ladybird book aimed at children trying to ‘educate’ (or should that be school) them in what to believe about one of his pet subjects. I don’t feel sorry for him as he does lead a very gilded life which means he can meddle to his heart’s content. He is too outspoken for someone who wants the top slot. His mother is a lot more discreet. And we still haven’t resolved the question of Queen Camilla, but that’s another subject all of its own. Let’s just say there will be a lot of turmoil surrounding his ascension to the throne.

          He also wants to be ‘Defender of all Faiths’ rather than Defender of the Faith which is the Monarch’s role as head of the Church of England. As the Koran is already being read out in some of our greatest cathedrals, this is causing even deeper schisms in the Church. I am not religious but I do recognise that our traditional institutions like the Church are being deliberately undermined in the name of multiculturalism and it is further dividing our communities.

          PS My mother (78) is a big fan of WUWT and you’re her favourite contributor. She loves your new blog and any stories about your life and adventures at sea.

          Liked by 3 people

        • As regards the petition I seem to remember the last one of significance was about our Top Gear programme presenter being sacked by the BBC. Jeremy Clarkson apparently wacked a BBC producer over a failed food supply. Over 1 million names were submitted.

          Too many of the email addresses submitted were from the Vatican apparently? To expect the Westminster swamp to do anything much is a real joke…oh, could get attendance expenses of course.

          There is a counter petition:

          “Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the United Kingdom”.

          Its a silly game really.


    • In the UK the BBC are showing the parliamentary channel, where the opposition and some Conservatives are in a rabid mood calling Trump a fascist and likening the 3 month restrictions to the holocaust and rise of Hitler and Mussolini. There is a petition amounting to 1/60th of the population to have President Trump’s visit cancelled. In London and Manchester someone has organised a street protest. It seems that having a non-politician proposing non-PC policies, supporting Brexit and even worse- doing what he said before winning the election is too much for them. In London 40%+ of the population were born abroad and many more are second generation.

      The analysis above is very welcome and hopefully the ridiculous frenzy from the British media will eventually cool down. At the moment ITV news has called the tightening of immigration ‘a stain on the reputation of the US’. Our swamp feeds on itself. Americans seeing this crap should realise that the general population would be pleased if we tightened up too. Recently, BBC London reported that a UK citizen had gone to Syria, joined ISIS, done a number of beheadings and other mayhem then decided to come home to live in London. The US had placed restrictions on him, under Obama, but apparently he is free here and can only be observed. It is illegal under UN law to discriminate under religion or and the authorities are careful to avoid being found out persecuting minority psychopaths.


  5. a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest;

    I believe we will end up with allowing two kinds of immigration: compassionate and quid pro quo. The first will be for truly desperate people fleeing credible threats of death. We’ve had this concept all through the cold war and this status was generally awarded to people fleeing Communist countries. Trump’s order recognizes there are valid cases today.

    The second is essentially we’ll let you in because we expect you will do good things for us. At a very minimum, this includes obeying the law and not being a burden. Not being a burden includes learning english and holding down a job sufficient to not need public assistance.

    Seriously, why would we want to let people in who can’t or won’t contribute to the general welfare? If we’re not going to let in everyone, why would we prioritize on those most likely to be a burden? Ann Coulter has written on this extensively.


  6. Reports are Trump will announce his SCOTUS nomination today. Whether he’s just impatient to get things done or it’s deliberate strategy I can’t say, but it seems Trump’s plan is to give the left so many targets for their outrage all at the same time they won’t know which direction to turn. But I would not want to be the person he nominates; the incoming fire will be intense. I suspect the ADD press will now pivot to cover that issue and drop the immigration story. Just about the time you get one protest march organized, there’s a new outrage demanding attention.

    The morning news also reported the ACLU raised a record $25 million online over the weekend. Sad to admit, I used to be a member.


    • I love how these “spontaneous” protests at airports have nice, professionally printed signs, apparently produced out of thin air. And on zero lead time, just poof and there they were.

      A radio “agitator” named Jim Quinn hit on the “is it a strategy to flood the zone” theory this morning. All this protesting and rioting is hurting the cause of the left, and I love it.


      • I think Willis said this is 2017. In the US, even in small cities, getting posters, T-shirts, or beer glasses ready for an event takes less than 7 minutes and a credit card.
        What amazes me is that in some other countries, when the Great Satin is to be violated, hundreds of Stars & Stripes seem to appear as needed. In the US, a nice flag is pricey. So where did the money given to a charity go to? For food and medicine, or for a burnable American Flag. We are now extremely careful who gets money from our cookie jar.


    • The Democrats need to be careful because if an honest to goodness, honest candidate is offered and the Democrats refuse to vote, the Republicans could invoke the 51 vote nuclear option.
      That will change the SCOTUS selection process but, maybe it’s time to let 51 votes be enough and allow the country to move on. I’m sure there will be other chances for the Democrats, later…hopefully,much later.


      • keep in mind the 2018 election, over half the Democrats in the Senate are up for re-election, vs only 6 Republicans.

        Of those Democrats, 9 are in states that Trump won.

        After all their campaigning against Republicans as “the party of NO”, are they really going to be willing to block the appointment with a filibuster? It only takes 7 Democrats being willing to let the vote happen for the appointment to happen without the nuclear option.

        While Shumer and others in safe seats don’t worry about such things, I’ll bet that a lot of the others are far more concerned.

        While Trump would like to get his appointment in place for some of the cases currently working their way through the system, there would be a lot of value in letting the appointment linger, forcing the Democrats to keep voting to block things. The nomination can linger for a long time, nothing forces Trump to withdraw the nomination just because the Democrats refuse to vote on it.

        In the past, the inability to break a filibuster has indicated that the candidate would not get through, but this time around, I expect that the filibuster would be leveled against anyone, so changing the candidate would not result in anyone getting through, just in making it look like Trump’s opponents are winning.


        • Seeing as in 2016 Democrats got their collective a$$es handed to them all over the country, municipal, county and state legislature positions lost, 2018 looks to be a blood bath for them, especially since DJT is actually doing what he told voters he would do and they like it.


          • I agree, A lot of people weren’t willing to vote for Trump because they didn’t trust him to follow through on anything that he had to say (or only reluctantly voted for him)

            The more that he shows that he is actually going to do what he said he would, the stronger his support is going to be in the majority of the country (i.e. all those except the ones who are too well off to worry about Americans and only worry about the world)

            If he can show good progress in the inner cities, he may even break the stranglehold that the Democrats have over the Black and Hispanic votes. He won’t win over their “Leaders”, but he may start getting more rank-and-file.

            The big fight we are going to see over School Choice is going to be a big thing there. If you ask the “Leaders”, they are opposed to School Choice, but if you ask the people, they are something like 75% in favor of it. Seeing the people who claim to be their advocates being so insanely opposed to what they want is going to be an interesting issue for them to deal with.


          • DJT has put the nation in shock by doing what he said he would do, so far. Especially disquieting to those on the political left who gleefully embrace duplicity as a tool to advance their leftist ideology.

            School choice terrifies Democrats and teacher union leadership because it strips them of their power to push their agenda onto children. Obama’s first action in 2009 was to cancel a successful school choice program in DC school district. Here in PA our Democrat governor, Mr Wolf, has worked diligently to block school choice and force common core idiocy on private schools and home schoolers. Ed Rendell was even more aggressive. This has all led to minority children in Philthidelphia and the large metro areas of eastern PA remaining in public schools which are failing them, miserably failing them. DJT can open up economic opportunities in inner cities, all well and good. Until Democrats and other leftists are driven out of municipal governments and education little can change for inner city citizens, no matter their skin color.


  7. Willis,

    Excellent article. The National Review also has an intelligent dispassionate article on the issue. As to the eight countries cited, I believe they are spelled out in 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) as countries that harbor terrorism. At least that is what the order itself says. Only Syria is cited by name as a country which entry is indefinitely banned.


  8. Excellent summary, well thought out in a rational manner … you’d make a terrible modern-day liberal. A couple points come to mind …

    First — all these folks keep freaking out as though the things The Donald does are a complete surprise. The thing is, he’s doing everything he said he’d do. For over a year he said what he’d do on day one; so it’s taking him a few more days; he’s still getting the job done. Those that oppose him can’t handle it and don’t know how to respond.

    Second — all the chaos and confusion. The problem’s not with The Donald; the problem’s with the government employee mindset, accustomed to meeting tasks in terms of months, rather than immediately or within days or weeks. It’s a shock to the system.


    • I likened it to ‘shock and awe’ on your political system when talking about it to my mother earlier. He has hit the ground running and put all his opponents on the back foot. As you say, the media and establishment are used to taking time talking in circles about things and listening to lobbyists. He isn’t giving anyone time to think before responding which is why everything seems to be so incoherent. He’s certainly catching the media out at every turn. Hope he stands his ground.

      It is clear this plan has been developed over a long time. I would say a lot longer than 3 months. His team knew they had to get a lot done in the first 100 days. By doing it this way, he will get a lot through the net until, at some point, there will be a major pushback. By that time it may just be too late and a lot of what he wants to achieve will be in place. In some ways he is acting like Putin did with the oligarchs. He needs to keep communicating directly with the people to keep them on his side so the ‘deep state’ and legacy media have nowhere to hide when they oppose him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “The thing is, he’s doing everything he said he’d do. For over a year he said what he’d do” That is why they are freaking out, they have no experience with anyone who actually does what they say they will do. I have encountered this effect among the younger worker crowd during the last 20 odd years. The shocked expression followed by “You really meant that?”.


  9. Thanks, Willis, for an interesting discussion. As you probably know, a few months ago the Cato Institute published an immigration-terrorism risk assessment written by Alex Nowrasteh.
    Nowrasteh classified foreign terrorists according to the type of visa on which they entered the US rather than on their country of origin. He concluded (and you may like to cast a critical eye on his statistical methods) that since 1975 American residents have been more at risk of murder from terrorists who entered the US on tourist visas than from terrorists who entered as refugees or illegal immigrants. Of course tourists are a larger group.
    Do you (or does anybody here) know how many of the 3000-odd foreign terrorist murders in the US since 1975 have been carried out by people from the eight countries on Trump’s list? And where did the others come from?


    • That was the pattern until 2001, at least, using tourist visa to enter US for various criminal intentions, terrorism being one. With the waves of “refugees” that have moved out of ME and North Africa during the last 10-12 years has changed this. Much cheaper and easier to use that as an infiltration vector. Although, that said, just walking across the US/Mex border and pretending to be hispanic is far cheaper and easier. Problem is, once you get your “terrorist” into America they more often than not just melt into the population and live the good life. Hard to keep that fanatical edge once they are in The Great Golden Mountain. Much easier to radicalize second or third generation immigrant kids after the US public education system has screwed up their minds sufficiently.


        • FBI has gotten some help in counter-terrorism from such people, not all muslim. In the ’50s-’60s a lot of Soviet assets in America self turned and some Cuban infiltrators turned on the Castro-ties after coming into US. Freedom is quite insidious in subverting its enemies! 😉


    • Hi again Willis and others, It seems the answer to my question was in Nowrasteh’s longish paper, which I had only skimmed through. My bad. Anyway the following is an extract from an article in the Atlantic blog at
      “…after sifting through databases, media reports, court documents, and other sources, Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, has arrived at a striking finding: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.
      Six Iranians, six Sudanese, two Somalis, two Iraqis, and one Yemeni have been convicted of attempting or executing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil during that time period, according to Nowrasteh’s research. (Nowrasteh focused on plots against the U.S. homeland, which presumably Trump cares most about, rather than other terrorism-related offenses, like supporting a foreign terrorist group or trying to join a jihadist organization overseas.) Zero Libyans and zero Syrians have been convicted of doing the same. “Foreign-born terrorism is a hazard,” Nowrasteh argues, “but it is manageable given the huge economic benefits of immigration and the small costs of terrorism.”
      As for refugees, Nowrasteh writes, Trump’s action “is a response to a phantom menace.” Over the last four decades, 20 out of 3.25 million refugees welcomed to the United States have been convicted of attempting or committing terrorism on U.S. soil, and only three Americans have been killed in attacks committed by refugees—all by Cuban refugees in the 1970s.
      Zero Americans have been killed by Syrian refugees in a terrorist attack in the United States.”
      So where did all these foreign terrorists murderers come from (apart from Cuba)? From Palestine, Armenia, Croatia, Taiwan and Trinidad-Tobago (1 terrorist murder each in the US); from Palestine (is that a country?) 2 terrorist murders in the US; from Cuba, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan (3 terrorist murders each in the US); from Kuwait (6 terrorist murders in the US); from Lebanon (159 terrorist murders in the US; from Egypt (162 terrorist murders in the US); from the United Arab Emirates – that means Abu Dhabi, Dubai and 5 other tiny principalities – (314 terrorist murders in the US); and, topping the table, our old friend Saudi Arabia (2369 terrorist murders in the US). All data refer to the period 1975 to 2015.
      From Somalia during the same 40-year period? None. From Iraq? None. From Libya? None. From Sudan? None. From Yemen? None. From Iran? None. And from Syria? None.
      I agree with Willis that Mr Trump has the legal right to exclude whoever he wants from entering the US if he considers them a danger. I have no personal interest in the issue as I have no intention of travelling to the US. But the measure to ban travellers from just those 7 countries is not a particularly useful measure if the objective is to reduce the risk of terrorist murders in the US. It looks to me more like a cosmetic measure to give the impression that the President is doing something about something without actually doing anything about anything. Or, as Nowrasteh puts it, “a response to a phantom menace.”


      • what we don’t know is what plots have been blocked, and what intel is indicating for the future.

        or do you advocate not doing anything until an attack happens so that you can blame Trump for ignoring the intel and not blocking them ahead of time?


      • Really? America has no right or authority to check the backgrounds and ascertain the intentions of muslims coming from known terrorist breeding grounds? And you reach this conclusion because an apologist for muslim terrorism tells you so? Perhaps you can put this down on paper and sign it, so Americans can hold you legally and criminally liable for the actions of muslim terrorists who you insist Americans must allow into America.


      • coldish1 January 31, 2017 at 10:39 am

        Hi again Willis and others, It seems the answer to my question was in Nowrasteh’s longish paper, which I had only skimmed through. My bad. Anyway the following is an extract from an article in the Atlantic blog at
        “…after sifting through databases, media reports, court documents, and other sources, Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, has arrived at a striking finding: Nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015.

        Thanks, coldish1. If we were fighting the last war that would be relevant. We’re not.

        We’re fighting the next war. Those seven countries are the seven countries that the Obama Administration posed the greatest danger looking forwards.

        This is for the reasons I put forth in the head post—internal unrest, lack of records, unfriendly or weak government, active insurgencies, and active recruitment of terrorists.

        The Trump Administration looked at it and agreed. Those are the countries that, looking forward, are most likely to be the source of terrorists in the next few years.

        Since it is so rare for the two Administrations to agree on anything, and since I gave my reasons why they were picked BEFORE I knew that they were selected by the Obama Administration, I think they are reasonable and rational choices.

        Should there be more countries on the list? Possibly. It’s one of the things that the Executive Order specifies will be determined over the next 90 days, during which time there will be a top-to-bottom reassessment of the entire question.

        But objecting to the list itself? Take it up with Obama …

        My best to you,



        • One thing I saw pointed out about these countries is that except for Iran, all of these countries are currently in a state where there is no functional central government, and as a result, even if the government was willing to cooperate with us, there are no functional databases to use when trying to vet people from there.

          Besides the fact that natives of those countries may pose threats, it also means that people who are not from those countries can claim to be, and it’s going to be very hard to prove otherwise.

          That makes anyone from those countries a much higher risk.

          Now, I haven’t done any analysis to check to see if there are any other countries around the world that are in similar conditions (I wouldn’t be surprised to find there are some in Africa), but I’m pretty sure that there aren’t any others that would make good covers for Islamic Terrorists from the Middle East


          • davidelang: thanks, those are good points. As Willis has suggested above, failed and broken states with weak governments don’t make the best partners to stop crime. Within Europe we have seen that happening in the case of Kosovo.
            From what I have read recently I might have suggested Afghanistan as a suitable candidate for the Obama-Trump list.
            The preferential treatment given to refugees from Syria heading for Germany in 2015 will certainly have encouraged some migrants from other countries (in particular Iraq) to pretend that they were Syrian.
            The same may apply to Eritrea, which, although not a broken or failed state like most of those on the Obama-Trump list, is regarded as a good bet for asylum-seekers to claim to come from if their own country is regarded as ‘safe’.


        • Thanks for your reply, Willis. I too only found out after writing my 31 Jan comment that the list of suspect countries originated with Mr Obama. That may explain why it seems to me to be, unlike other measures introduced by Mr Trump, an inadequate half-measure which doesn’t get near the root of the problem. I have no doubt that the new president can do better, and I certainly hope he will.
          You write that ‘We’re fighting the next war’. Well, maybe so, I don’t know much about the future. In Europe (I live in Germany) we’re still fighting the present ‘war’. In the last 2 years we have had a string of public terrorist-style murders, in many or most cases seemingly inspired by militant Islam. We would very much like to put an end to this, if we knew how. The military successes of Isis and Co in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sinai and the establishment of a ‘caliphate’ have doubtless been an inspiration for many of the actions carried out in western Europe. However the perpetrators of the more serious actions have been either home-grown Islamists, in the last 2 years mostly French and Belgian, or immigrants from relatively stable countries such as Tunisia and Morocco. The arrival in western Europe of close to a million refugees and other migrants from or via Syria and Iraq has not notably added to the toll, any more than did the earlier economic migration of several million people from Turkey to Germany. A Syrian asylum-seeker blew himself up and injured a dozen people in Ansbach, Germany, while an Afghan asylum-seeker attacked several people on a train with an axe. These were terrible actions carried out by disturbed individuals, worrying but hardly comparable with the organised mass murders in Paris and Brussels.
          Ridding Syria and Iraq of Isis and other militant Islamist groups is a laudable aim, which the previous US administration took far too long to accept and which Mr Trump has said he will prioritise. But any country in the world can be a ‘breeding ground’ for terrorism and closing borders to this or that nationality en masse, while valid as a temporary stop-gap, won’t stop young people wanting to become terrorists any more than using less fossil fuels will stop sea level change.
          Yikes, too much time spent on thinking! Back to work. All the best to you and yours. Coldish.


  10. Your post saved a lot of research effort, but opened two further research doors.
    1. His order was pursuant to law so the ACLU argument about violating the 1965 antidiscrimination amendment fails. But is 8USC1882 constitutional? NR has a thoughtful review. I checked some federalist papers and other stuff. And found that just as with the definition of Treaty, Thomas Jefferson clarified the executive Power of Article 2 section 1.1. The statute is clearly constitutional under the understanding that executive power involves all foreign dealings going back 200 years.
    2. What to vet against? Obviously membership in ISIS or alQuaeda or al Shabab. But how do you vet against radical Islam sympathizers who weren’t actors? The single common denominator seems to be more rigid interpretation of Sharia. The Islam Council of America has a very long waffly site on this; a rigid interpretation of Sharia would consider that site blasphemous and apostate, both punishable by death inder Sharia as written. So this is a very grey area that will not be amenable to standard vetting. Social media might give clues but most Somali refugee applicants wont have a social media presence. Personal history will provide clues. Rigid Sharia requires praying 5 times/day, absolute segregation of women in public, and so on. Perhaps modern Muslims themselves who wrestle with ‘weak’ Sharia can devise a set of strong/weak Sharia belief screens, as Sharia is fundmentally incompatible with western law including but not limited to the First Amendment and now constitutionally sanctioned gay marriage.


    • Ironically, the liberals of the west want to embrace that of which they vehemently oppose and would put their ideological desires in utmost peril, and haven’t a clue. We live in amazing times.


  11. Good stuff W!
    Correction: The paragraph that starts with the second bold Next
    Carter banned the Iranians,
    Obama banned the Iraqis


  12. When 9/11 happened, we found out that the government had not been able to “connect the dots”. We found out there was an information wall between the domestic law enforcement vs international intelligence and they could not share info. Even though Bush had not set up this wall, he was essentially blamed for the intelligence failure.

    So, perhaps the fast action on the program review is Trump’s way of stopping something? I’m sure there are people that want to attack the US again on a large scale, so shutting off people coming from the worst areas is one step. After all, the process had been done before, IC was warning that ISIS says that they are using the refugee crisis in Europe to get their people in and there have been some attacks in Europe. Dots connected?

    I’ve seen some criticism that the nominees for State and DOJ were not consulted on the issue – perhaps they could not be because of the security clearance issue or the appearance of ignoring the approval process by bringing them in.

    I am encouraged by the report that Saudi Arabia and another country will work on establishing safe refugee spots in the Middle East. I wonder if anyone else had ever asked them?


    • Liz, I spent weeks in SA and Kuwait some years go. Safe refugees depends on your definition of safe. Kuwaitie women are not allowed to drive in SA. Differing Sharia. The whole region is poisonous to western liberal ideals. Been there, seen that personally.


      • Yes Sir, I also spent 3 years in Saudi Arabia (in Jeddah, 2004-2007). Working with, and supervising, Saudi Engineers and some construction sites. I agree with you “poisonous” comment. However, some of the educated Saudis appear to pay lip service only to the prevailing cultural norms. These are drawn from an educated minority.
        I recall a comment (origin unknown, or poorly remembered …I am getting old) about the dramatic reduction in the number of female passengers in abayas between departure Jeddah and arrival Dubai/Abu Dhabi …


  13. Just a thought from another direction. If one were a terrorist leader, wouldn’t it be prudent to wait out the next 120 days without an attack on any U. S. interest lest you prove President Trump correct?


  14. A comment by Gail Coombs,

    Funny as heck…

    Trump set-up the Media,… AGAIN!

    Remember the recent E.O. that had the Progressive bedwetters in a tizzy potesting at Airports with signs ?

    President Trump Releases Statement – U.S. Media Officially Twisted Like Pretzels…
    Well, it would appear Don McGahn and Don Trump have indeed played the media, left-wing moonbats and the unintelligent GOPe like a Stradivarius. With bait firmly taken, the trap snaps shut.

    Here’s the statement from the White House….
    Against the reality of President Trump 2017 simply following an almost identical refugee pause process as President Obama in 2011, the media are twisting like pretzels to reconcile how Trump is bad, but Obama is good.

    ♦ President Obama puts six month ban on Iraqi refugees in 2011 and media…. crickets.
    ♦ President Trump puts 120 day suspension on Syrian refugees 2017… media explodes.

    ♦ Obama selects 7 countries for enhanced visa security policy and media… crickets.
    ♦ Trump uses Obama law, same Obama DHS policy, and same 7 countries; for a 90-day visa suspension and media explodes.

    This simply cannot be accidental, and given the release from the White House it most certainly looks like the media was set up to create a crisis where no crisis existed….

    And while the Yellow Stream Urinalists make fools of themselves chasing the stick Trump tossed them, Stunning Win – Saudi King Salman Agrees to Support/Finance Safe Zones In Syria and Yemen…

    I really love this president. Who would think anyone could reveal what a bunch of numb nuts we have in politics and the media in such an entertaining way?



  15. Interesting to see a US POV but try Europe… Arrive as a military age male with no paperwork and once you get into the SZ the world is your oyster. What could possibly go wrong?


    • Yes, with no parents, wives or children; well-dressed and complete with smartphones, etc. Refugees? My foot! More like a very open 5th column; they should be fighting for their own countries. Merkel has much to answer for.

      Three cheers for President Trump!


  16. The sad thing is that the genuinely needy refugees suffer all the more, thanks to the economic/illegals and covert terrorists trying to enter our various countries.


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