Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trump's Order Suspending Refugee Program: Racism or Balanced National Security?

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President Trump kept what was easily among his most controversial campaign promises when he issued an executive order suspending the equally controversial U.S. refugee program. The executive order suspends — for at least 90 days — the entry of foreign nationals into the United States from seven “countries of particular concern.” Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (In the case of Syria, the suspension is indefinite.) The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.

The liberal media and many liberal commentators have — as was to be expected — gone into action spinning the order as the uncharitable act of a president who does not care about the plight of suffering refugees. CNN reported, “The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely.” USA Today said, “As of Nov. 2015, 77% of Syrian refugees who entered the U.S. were women and children. Only 23% were adult men, and only 2% were ‘single men unattached to families.’” Politico wrote, “President Donald Trump plans to temporarily halt the admission of refugees into the United States — and impose an indefinite ban on those fleeing Syria — while also suspending the entry of citizens of several Muslim-majority countries.” The Huffington Post wins the prize, though, for its headline, “Trump Targets Muslims, Refugees In New Executive Order Issued On Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) claimed, "Make no mistake — this is a Muslim ban." Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight."

But is it a “Muslim ban”? Or is it a balanced policy aimed at protecting not only Americans (of all religious persuasions), but also those immigrants (also of all religious persuasions) already in the United States?

Before answering that, perhaps another couple of questions need to be answered. First, what is government except an extension of — and the creature of — the people? Phrased another way, can government rightly do what morals would bar the individual from doing? The answer to both phrasings of that question is a resounding, “no.”

Another question: How many (no matter how liberal) would — in these cold winter months — unlock their doors and open their homes to one and all of the homeless in their cities who are seeking refuge from the cold? Given that the homeless population has within its ranks a subset that is either mentally ill, criminal, or both, the answer is “none who value either their lives or property.”

Since the United States is the extended “home” of all who live here, why should this be any different?

Granted, the situation faced by those actual refugees is dire. Prudence, however, demands that one take measures to guard his own life even before helping others. Otherwise, one cannot help anyone. It’s more than a little like the announcement on airplanes:

Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.

Unfortunately, America can’t save everyone; and if America falls, it can’t save anyone. This executive order is an attempt to make sure that America does not fall.

As the executive order states in its "Purpose" section:

Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.

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.

To that end, the order stipulates in its “Policy” section that:

It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.

Far from a “Muslim ban,” the order simply seeks a vetting process that would weed out those with “ties to terrorism.” And while the liberal establishment in both politics and media would spin it to say otherwise, there was little to no such reaction when their beloved President Obama did almost exactly the same thing.

In 2015, Obama signed H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. That bill clarified “the grounds for ineligibility for travel to the United States regarding terrorism risk, to expand the criteria by which a country may be removed from the Visa Waiver Program, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report on strengthening the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to better secure the international borders of the United States and prevent terrorists and instruments of terrorism from entering the United States, and for other purposes.”

Chuck Schumer didn’t see the Statue of Liberty crying when Obama signed H.R. 158 into law. And the Huffington Post — which used “Holocaust Remembrance Day” to bolster its accusation that Trump’s new executive order “targets” both “Muslims” and “Refugees” — wrote at the time:

In what could be a sign the administration is moving away from a policy seen as discriminatory, the Obama administration announced Thursday that it is restricting visa-free travel to the U.S. for recent visitors to three additional countries — but not for dual nationals with those passports.

Under the new restrictions, citizens of the 38 countries that are part of the reciprocal visa-waiver program will lose their visa-free travel status if they have traveled to Libya, Somalia or Yemen within the past five years. Thursday’s announcement is an expansion of a law passed late last year, which revoked the visa-waiver status of people who had recently traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan, and who hold dual citizenship with any of those four countries.

So, when President Obama signed a bill to restrict travel to the United States by anyone from 38 countries (many of them Muslim-majority) if those travelers had “traveled to Libya, Somalia or Yemen within the past five years,” he was “moving away from a policy seen as discriminatory.” Yet when President Trump suspends travel to the United States from seven countries, he is deemed guilty of discrimination. Only leftist doublethink allows for the acceptance of both these contrary conclusions. This is especially the case considering that the legal framework on which Trump’s executive order rests is the law signed by Obama and celebrated by the same people who now condemn its implementation.

Photo: AP Images

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