President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Friday entitled “Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” In the few short days since, it would seem the action was tantamount to stirring up a hornet’s nest. Perhaps not so surprisingly, a few of the hornets are from Trump’s own ranks: Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. In a carefully worded statement released on Sunday, scarcely two days after the executive order, McCain and Graham said in part, “It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted.”
And later in the statement, “This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
While the countries affected by the order have been known or highly suspected to harbor ill will toward the United States, nowhere in the entirety of the executive order do the terms “Muslim” or “Islam” appear. According to President Trump, the order has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with protecting the United States. McCain and Graham would do well to remember that point. They would also do well to remember the oath they took when sworn in as U.S. senators:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
The executive order issued by President Trump rightfully reminds us that in the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, foreign nationals harboring terrorist intentions have still managed to find their way through our lax vetting processes and into our midst, unmonitored and unsupervised. The second paragraph of the executive order reads,
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.
It is to be expected for the mainstream media — outlets such as NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and the like — to stand staunchly beside the left-wing Hollywood celebrities and other liberal action groups. For many of those socialist-leaning organizations it is truly not a humanitarian issue, but rather a deliberate push to uphold leftist ideologies. As we noted recently, there was no media frenzy or marching in the streets when President Obama signed H.R. 158 into law, a bill which strongly restricted travel to the United States for individuals from approximately 38 heavily Muslim 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 people 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.
One has to wonder whether Senators McCain and Graham have actually read the executive order handed down by President Trump.
It is important to read the executive order completely in order to understand it in context. Based upon what celebrities across the nation are saying, particularly Sunday evening at the 2017 SAG Awards, one would think the order signed by President Trump would read something like, “No Muslim from anywhere in the world is ever to enter the United States again.” When the order is actually read in its entirety, the emphasis becomes significantly clearer: “…to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.”
To correct a misnomer floating through various media outlets at the moment, the president did not sign a permanent immigration ban. President Trump signed a temporary “Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern.” Spelled out very clearly in the order are the reasons for this, the main one being to allow the secretary of homeland security ample time to “conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.”
Due on the desk of the president 30 days from the signing of the order is a report jointly from the secretary of homeland security, secretary of state, and director of national intelligence detailing whether the countries are providing enough data to properly scrutinize foreign nationals bound for the United States.
Sixty days after the signing of the executive order, the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state, shall notify the president whether the countries affected by the immigration suspension are willingly providing the adequate data. Additional reports are due at 90 days and 120 days.
The U.S. Refugee Admission Program is on a temporary hold as well. During the 120-day process, the same review is taking place, a review to see that procedures are in place that are “adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.”
Read in its full context, the order is not an “immigration ban” as many are representing it, but merely a suspension to ensure that people entering the United States intend to live here in peace and mean U.S. citizens no harm.
The most pertinent question at this point is for Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham: Which parts of the executive order are in conflict with their sworn oath of office — to support and defend the constitution of the United States?
It is indeed the duty of our wonderful nation to lift up the downtrodden and to protect the defenseless; part of that process is to ensure people bent on the destruction of the United States — bent harming those who would live in peace — are kept far from her borders.
And while years of an unconstitutional, interventionist foreign policy of meddling in the affairs of other nations and attempting "regime change" in various Middle Eastern countries has certainly led to increased animosity toward our country in that part of the world, the fact remains that there is a danger of people entering our country who want to do us harm. Changing our foreign policy is definitely needed, but that is not a quick fix, and while Trump was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as president he may or may not make any improvements in that regard. In the meantime, a more effective vetting of immigrants is necessary.
Photo of Senators John McCain (left) and Lindsey Graham (right): AP Images