Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Trump's Temporary Immigration Ban

There has been a lot of hoopla made out of President Trump’s executive order on the temporary ban of immigrants from seven unstable or war-torn Middle Eastern nations lately.  Where one comes down on the issue is probably more indicative of one’s own political predilections than it is of the actual executive order itself.

Trump’s executive order specifically states that a temporary ban on immigration from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya will be enacted in order to ensure the safety of American citizens from potential terrorists that could infiltrate and pose as refugees in order to gain entrance into our nation for nefarious reasons.

Now I understand and indeed appreciate the good-hearted people that want to allow immigrants that are fleeing these war-embattled, terrorist hellholes.  If we could ensure their good intentions, then I would be inclined to grant them refugee status and welcome them in too.  That said, our government has the responsibility to strike the proper balance between national security and compassion for its citizens and those who would be its citizens.

The reason these particular seven countries are specifically listed in the executive order is because of the inability for us to properly vet these would-be immigrants due to lack of documentation that verifies that these people truly are refugees and not ISIS fighters simply trying to gain entrance to America.  The foreign governments from which these folks are fleeing either do not have the ability or do not wish to provide documentation to corroborate these peoples’ stories.  Trump, as promised in the presidential campaign, has taken the first step to protect Americans from a potential national security risk by not admitting these refugees without proper vetting.  (Can you imagine the outcry, particularly from the Left, if unchecked immigration allowed a terrorist into the country who did manage to kill Americans under Trump's watch?)

“But this executive order is unconstitutional,” and “It is un-American to ban people simply because they are Muslim,” many well-meaning Americans object.  Well, I would respectfully argue that there is nothing unconstitutional, outrageous, or immoral about suspending immigration from countries raging in war and terrorism or specifically touting a hatred for American ideals.  Further, this is NOT a Muslim ban as the other 43 predominately Muslim nations in the world have not had their immigration status affected by this executive order.  Indeed, the European Union and even some Middle Eastern nations such as Kuwait have similar restrictions for many of these exact same unstable hot spots in the world.

Further, I find it interesting how many of these same people decrying Trump’s order watched in silence as President Obama in his waning days in office signed an executive order abolishing the refugee status of Cubans fleeing that repressive regime with the decades-held feet wet/feet dry policy. Previously Cubans that risked their lives fleeing to American shores were granted political asylum if they could successfully touch U.S. soil.  President Obama rescinded that long held immigration policy by executive order to nary a peep from the Left in this country.  That is hardly sympathetic to those immigrants that are fleeing tyranny and do not wish our country harm.  It stands in stark contrast to Trump’s executive order.

I applaud the purpose of President Trump’s executive order; however, in many ways he has been his own worst public relations enemy on the subject.  At times, he or his surrogates have insisted that this was not a ban, and then turned around and referred to it as a ban.  Whether this was simply sloppy language or intentional, they have sent a jumbled message that the hyper-critical left-wing press has been only too happy to run with in order to try and goad and undermine Trump and his supporters on this issue.  My biggest complaint though was that it doesn’t seem like the purpose and scope of the order was communicated well to those needing to understand and implement it properly.  Further, it should never have affected green card holders that were already vetted and here legally.

Lastly, regarding the constitutionality of President Trump’s executive order, a president does indeed have the right to enforce existing law as the chief executive.  He has an obligation to protect America and its citizenry.  By issuing his order, he is not abridging or denying constitutional rights to would-be immigrants.  By definition, the United States Constitution guarantees it rights and protections to those who are CITIZENS of the United States.  It does not necessarily confer all of those same rights and protections to foreign nationals.

Two years ago, President Obama signed The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 which contained the following:

An alien shall be ineligible for program participation who:
has been present, at any time on or after March 1, 2011, in Iraq or Syria, in a country designated as one that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, or in any other country or area of concern designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and
regardless of whether the alien is a national of a program country, is a national of Iraq or Syria, a country designated as a country that has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, or any other country or area of concern.

President Obama was right to do so then.  President Trump is right to do so now.  And that is regardless of my political predilections.