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Trump’s Bans

February 4, 2017

Early in the most recent American Presidential race, candidate Donald Trump proposed a ban on Moslems traveling to the United States as a means of protecting the American people from attacks by Islamic Extremist Terrorists. Now, President Trump has issued an Executive Order to fulfill his campaign promise. At the time of his initial proposal, he encountered vocal opposition from across the political spectrum. Influential members of both mainstream parties questioned the Constitutionality of such a move as well as its wisdom as a tactic in dealing with  terrorist threats, real or imagined. Others felt the maneuver entirely ignored the humanitarian suffering being experienced by millions of people in the war torn region by lumping victims of oppression with their oppressors in denying them an important potential means of escaping their dire circumstances. Furthermore, many see this as arbitrary religious prejudice in a country that prides itself on being a bastion of religious freedom.

Many of the arguments being raised now in opposition to the Executive Order were vehemently expressed when Trump first started to discuss it. He seemed to feel that winning the election was enough to warrant that he take this step to satisfy the portion of his base that liked the idea. It seems safe to say he might have either underestimated the numbers and/or the strength of conviction of his opponents on this issue or felt he could withstand the negative publicity it would generate once it was issued and enforcement action was put into motion. Protests have been mounted across the country and numerous lawsuits filed seeking redress through the court system. The whole issue appears destined to be heard by the Supreme Court eventually, but that will take time to resolve. In the meantime, the United States does not seem to have improved its standing as a tourist destination, and many legal immigrants to this country are on edge lest their status become instantly and arbitrarily reversed as has already happened to many who set out with valid visas to travel here only to find that those visas had been summarily revoked overnight.

The seven nations explicitly banned in the edict – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – are problematic from the start. Sure, terrorist groups and individuals have received training and supplies in those countries, but the single greatest supplier of people responsible for the attacks of 9/11/01 came from Saudi Arabia – including Osama bin Laden. Iraq has numerous people who helped out American forces during our invasion and occupation there who have every reason to fear for their lives if they remain in the country. Likewise, a sizable portion of the Syrian refugee problem consists of people armed by us in their civil war against the Assad government. Is it humane or even wise to leave them in the lurch by disowning them in their time of greatest need?

Certainly, Trump’s act has its share of proponents among the American electorate, but as a foreign policy act aimed at fighting terrorists and protecting American citizens, it may well ultimately prove to be counterproductive. It certainly isn’t building friendships with people being directly affected by it, or the countries singled out for the ban. The US seems to be losing support from some of our European allies and Australia, especially when accompanied by Trump’s blunt, ham-fisted style of twitter diplomacy and the uneven nature of how the edict is being applied in practice. Needless to say, little if any attempt at mitigating the negative impacts unfairly visited upon many thousands of people living legally in this country has been made so far – except for through the courts.

The course of this all may ultimately result in the Executive Order being deemed Constitutional by SCOTUS, especially as the legislative and executive branches of our federal government are firmly under GOP control, which makes their takeover of the judicial branch over time almost inevitable. What little ability remains for the minority party in the Senate to obstruct nominations is all but gone. No one doubts that McConnell will end the filibuster if it looks like a key Administration nomination will be halted short of 60 votes. Reid fought the urge to do so when the Democrats held the majority, but McConnell is not nearly so circumspect. Trump  publicly practically begged him to do it.

The bottom line is the executive order is a religiously-based ban on immigration and refugee resettlement from specifically targeted countries. It assails any pretense the United States may have of being a land that celebrates religious freedom and cares about the wellbeing of innocent victims of conflict in foreign lands. Many innocent people have been put in danger as a direct result of American military and/or covert action in or against their homelands. Throwing away our moral principles by arbitrarily withholding our assistance to others requiring it due to no fault of their own in the somewhat futile search for personal safety and national security is a sorry excuse for perpetrating religious and ethnic bigotry. Our system of vetting prospective refugees and immigrants seeking to live and work here is more than adequate to the task of providing us with reasonable safety and security from the vast majority of people willing to go through it to make a life here. We do not require martial law and abandonment of our individual liberties and collective freedoms to remain safe. In fact, acquiring such a system would be abandoning democracy even more than we have in the years since 9/11. We can’t defeat totalitarianism by becoming authoritarian ourselves. Beating terrorists at their own game by becoming terrorists ourselves is ultimately self-defeating.

President Trump’s Muslim ban, extreme vetting, attempt to increase personal safety for Americans – or whatever name he wants to call – it needs to be halted in its tracks. Banning these people does nothing to make America Great and much to diminish our image abroad. Congress and the Judiciary each has the power and ability to reverse this order, and both should act quickly to do so.

Suggested Further Readings.:

Merkel, May Blast Trump’s Refugee Ban

Hillary Clinton Speaks Out Against Trump’s Refugee Ban

The Donald Trump Fan Detained In His Muslim Ban

The Iraqi Heroes Left Behind By Trump’s Immigration Ban

Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy Schools Republicans on Trump Muslim Ban

Iran Responds to Trump’s Muslim Ban by Banning US Citizens

Trump’s immigration ban just happens to miss countries where Trump has businesses

McCain, Graham lead in GOP criticism of Trump ban, many others stay mum

Schumer tears up over ‘un-American’ ban

President Trump’s executive order is an assault on Muslims, refugees

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4 Comments
  1. Read this on NBC this morning Rick. So much email it may have happened yesterday! “The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying it had “suspended any and all actions” regarding the affected sections of the executive order. “DHS personnel will resume inspection of travelers in accordance with standard policy and procedure.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-halts-trump-travel-ban-banned-countries-citizens-able-board-n716801?cid=eml_nbn_20170204

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s true, pending appeal, which is good. But I think the issue is far from resolved – at least in Trump’s mind.

      Like

  2. I heard on the BBC a few hours ago at the appellate court upheld the stay on the ban. I think Trump is going to lose this one – even if it goes to the Supreme Court.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you are right, but he won’t give up easily.

    Liked by 1 person

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