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.
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
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.
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.