I’ve had some thoughts about the executive order that I would like to get out, especially considering version 2.0 is rumored to appear soon. As of now, there is still a stay on the original act, and it’s looking increasingly likely the courts will block it. However, I wanted to state why I opposed the ban as bad policy in the hopes that it may convince someone, somewhere, not to support similar actions. 

First, I want to state that the choice between the executive order and the status quo is not a choice of extreme vetting versus no vetting. Much has been made of the analogy of comparing the executive order to locking your house doors, but that doesn’t fit the situation. A better analogy would be if someone you know of- but not personally- is in trouble, and the federal government has spent two years running background checks on them, would you allow them to stay in a spare bedroom to escape possible death?

While there are a few that call for open borders and the like, this is not a realistic policy position in the United States (or anywhere). What Democrats, centrist Republicans and groups like the ACLU want is to allow those that have been vetted to be allowed in. They are not arguing for no control.

And that’s my largest problem with this order and calls to increase vetting- what are the flaws that will be addressed? What particular thing needs fixing? How will we know when it is fixed? There is heavy vetting already for refugees- if you want to increase it, you need to state why and how you will do this.

For example, let’s turn to the “Obama did it first argument”: First and foremost, his order allowed those that had already been approved to continue to enter the United States. It did not require us to break our word. It also was in response to a specific incident, with a specific type of visa, and had specific goals. In fact, it wasn’t a “ban”- there were delays in processing.

As for the seven countries, extra scrutiny was deemed necessary for those who had TRAVELED to those countries or had dual citizenship with them; it mostly did not apply to those that were merely born there but were no longer citizens. And all it did was remove their ability for visa-free travel and require that they undergo the visa process.

Next comes the issue of legal permanent residents (LPRs) who have been vetted twice; once when they initially came here and once when they applied for their “green card”. We, the United States, made an agreement with them- we have already set out what could cause them to lose their LPR status and this EO order does not honor those expectations. Who will believe the United States in other matters when we so casually break faith with people who only want to live here?

You may say the order has been refined to not apply for LPRs. Actually, what the administration has said is that they aren’t choosing to exclude LPRs now, but that they are still subject to it, meaning this problem hasn’t been resolved at all.

Moving on, let’s talk about how the order was rolled out and applied. First, it appears to have been written without consultation with relevant agencies. This means that there was little to no guidance on how to enforce the order, which means that CBP officers showed up to work with the same warning and information you were able to access and told it was effective immediately.

By being effective immediately, this meant that those already in transit were turned away. There is no explanation on why these nations were chosen (aside from the Obama did it argument above) or what gaps in security are to be addressed. As it is written and how the administration has interpreted it, it also included people who are legal permanent residents (LPRs/green card holders), dual citizens of countries like the UK or Canada, and even those who only have citizenship in another country but were born in one of the seven listed here.

Finally, how does this act prevent terrorism or radicalization? What does it do to better integrate immigrants into American society? How does it prevent radicalization of shooters are not immigrants, such as the cases described in this article.

The sad fact is anyone can be radicalized. Anyone. And we can’t tell who will be radicalized in the future and if they will be radicalized by right-wing terrorists, racial extremists, or radical Islamists. We can, and should, take measures to make sure those we admit to our country do not aim to do us harm. We should ensure people are who they say they are and that they are not currently involved in extremist activities. We should work to prevent radicalization of immigrants by continuing to do what we have done, and not look to Europe- we must integrate immigrants into our communities, our neighborhoods, and schools, and insist that the America Dream is for everyone. To paraphrase a speaker I heard at the Academics United Rally- “Immigrants don’t need a hat to tell them America is great. They already know it is. That’s why they left their families, their homes, their childhoods to come here.” That’s the same reason many of our own families came, and exactly what makes us a nation of immigrants.

Read more:

More on what the refugee screening process looks like from:
Info graphic from Obama WH
NYTimes
The LA Times

The legality of the ban:
Lots of links here about the ban and the law
Trump’s immigration ban is illegal (CATO institute author)
How to read the 9th Circuit’s ban

Additional reads:
Why a travel restriction won’t stop terrorism at home (not a liberal source fyi)
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Statement from the Southern Baptist Convention

POSTSCRIPT-There is also a gumball video going around, claiming that immigration is a bad way to alleviate global poverty. I actually agree with it’s main contention that immigration is a poor way to alleviate global poverty. However, that is not an argument real people make.

Seriously, I have a code for when people talk about immigrants escaping poverty when I code speeches about immigration, but I have yet to need to create one for the argument that expanding immigration to the US alleviates global poverty. I have seen people argue that any immigration reform needs to include economic aid to sending countries, or additional help for their economies in order to stem the flow of economic migration, but this is not an argument those supporting immigration use.

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