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Whose country is it?

January 30, 2017

It would be pretty hard to ignore all the hoopla surrounding the 90 to 120 day ban on travelers from seven Middle East countries.

Unsurprisingly, the usual suspects are having a collective melt-down.

Um, exactly what did they think was going to happen after the executive order was signed?

That’s not to say the protests don’t have the ability to produce full scale riots at the drop of a hat, and you can bet that there are people out there who would love to drop that hat.

Do all those people have the slightest idea about the actual authority behind the executive order?  No, and it’s unlikely they would care if they did.

By the way, what does the executive order say?

As it has yet to be posted to the official website, you can read what is purportedly the full text of the EO in question here.

Note the references to certain classes of visa that are NOT included in the ban.  For a full listing and explanation of the types of visas, you can go here.

Your voices

You can listen to all the talking heads and emoting politicians and self-congratulatory actors you want at your leisure, but what do people who are not demonstrating think of the flap?

“Jan” probably put it as pragmatically as anyone did.

“Let’s say you have a big, nice house. A man in a suit walks up to your door with a few people you don’t know. He tells you that your house is too big and too grand for one family, therefore he is moving all the people behind him in with you because they like your house better than theirs. How would you feel then?  That’s essentially what the left is telling us about our country.”

“Margaret”, age 81 said,  “Those people on the TV don’t care about Muslims or Mexicans.  They care about taking over the country and making it theirs, and I don’t think they are acting like Americans at all.”

“Mike” aged 51 went a step further, saying “Look, anybody who cared to acknowledge what has been going on for the past 30 years could see this coming.  There has been an organized anti-American  element being grown in this country ever since I went to college, and maybe even before that. We waited way too long to defend ourselves within our own borders, and now we are in a fight.”

“Pete” is OK with a 90-day hold, but does say he thinks President Trump should have made the policy clearer regarding legal permanent residents.

“Mary” aged 26, noted that most of the people who have attacked us since 2001 were admitted legally, and wonders why our existing policies didn’t stop the ones who overstayed visas or went back and forth a lot to countries that support terror.

“Tim” noted, “It’s true without a doubt that most practicing Muslims are not radical Islamic terrorists, but all the terrorists have at least claimed allegiance not to Christ or Buddha, but to Allah.”

Sorting the garbage

Unless there is something else that has not made its way online yet, the full text of the EO doesn’t specifically mention Muslims at all, instead referring to “countries of concern” a designation that was made under the Obama administration.

It is worthwhile to note that these countries were identified not just because they are areas where the most active recruiting and exporting of terrorism take place, but because the United States does not have any reciprocal working agreements with any security or immigration  agencies in those places. In fact, some of them don’t even have such agencies.

Since those countries are predominately Muslim, it stands to reason that the group most affected are, you guessed it, Muslims. That is not the same thing as banning all Muslims.

Travelers are also being denied at airports in European countries based on country of origin.

Given that it was widely reported in 2015 that ISIS in Syria had gotten it’s hands on thousands of real visa blanks and immigration stamps, and that one of the San Bernardino shooters came in on a so-called “fiancé visa” that doesn’t seem like such a farfetched idea.

No one has yet leaked or published the internal operations orders that implement the EO.  That’s actually a rather critical piece of this national debate on immigration.

Anecdotal reports are that holders of current visas and green cards  were to be detained long enough to review those documents for authenticity. What the authority is for deporting rather than just detaining incoming travelers with such documents is unclear from the EO in question.

The surest way to get people’s attention when you give an order is to actually carry out the order.

Contrast that with the many times the immediate past administration got up in front of the cameras and said basically, “Tut,tut…you shouldn’t think you can come in illegally” and the number of border crossings pretty much stayed the same and sometimes even increased.

Speaking of the past President, where were the worldwide marches and protests when that administration stopped at the border or deported enough people to earn the nickname “deporter-in-chief” from the Latino community or when he banned entry from Iraq for six months in 2011, as reported by ABC news?

Where to now?

From the thirty-thousand foot level, it certainly appears that President Trump is going with the idea that it’s better to ask for forgiveness later rather than permission now.

One of the more rational criticisms of this order is that it is imprecise and overly broad.

Actually, all executive orders tend to be that way, with the nuts and bolts of implementation being further defined by the issuance of new regulations later on. That’s partially how we managed to get 20,642 new rules and regulations over the past eight years.

That’s definitely a problem for an administration that has promised to roll back 75% of all regulations, meaning that we could be looking at much longer executive orders.

Perhaps there could have been a better PR attempt to explain why and how current legal document holders would be included in the stoppage. That would certainly have kept the 100-odd people already in the pipeline and on planes from being so confused about what was going to happen and given some the chance to stay where they were for the next 90 days.

Would it have made any difference to the left, if it had been explained more fully?

Probably not.

The other consideration is how the seven countries in question will choose to retaliate. Some of them are already known to imprison people and even kill them on the flimsiest of excuses, and there are a lot of Americans working and living in those countries, including military personnel.

It would be interesting to  know whether the Trump administration thought through that possibility before issuing the order.

There are no hard and fast conclusions to be drawn yet. But, as “Mike” noted, this does appear to be more than a fight over visas.

From → op-ed

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