Good morning Hank. It's Tuesday. It’s Tuesday.
Donald Trump, the President of the United States, signed an Executive Order
reshapes U.S. immigration law, and there's been a lot of confusion
about it, even within the Government, about who's affected by this law
And exactly what it means. So I thought today I'd take a closer look
Check out the Executive Order’s actual contents. First, the Executive Order bans for a period 90 days.
all "immigrant and non immigrant" entry into the United States
From all citizens of seven countries — Iran (Iraq, Libya), Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. These seven countries
They were cited and seem to have been chosen
These laws were signed by President Obama in 2015 and 2016.
These countries required that their citizens obtain visas to enter the United States. But the Executive Order states that they can't
Even though you do not need a visa to enter the United States, there are some exceptions.
What does this all mean?
For an Iranian professor at Yale it means she will be leaving the U.S.
she won't be allowed to re-enter it, even though she's a well-known
opposition to the Iranian regime. For a doctor who is in another country
It was a difficult decision to refuse entry into the country because of polio.
Despite his visa to be in the U.S. These probably sound familiar.
These stories can be hard luck stories but people from these backgrounds are often the best examples.
Countries already required visas for certain reasons.
To visit the United States for family visits or to study,
Most stories, whether they are in a specialized field or not, are about hard luck stories.
Initially, the Executive Order seemed to also apply
to legal, permanent residents of the United States who aren't citizens — so called "green card" holders, although the language in the order is extremely hard to
You can even parse to people within government. I mean, at one point on Sunday, Tump's chief of staff said the order "does not apply" to green card holders, and then later, in the very same interview, said
"of course it does" apply to green card holders. After much confusion, and emergency lawsuits.
The ban on permanent residents is now not applicable. It's also unclear from the language in the order
It applies to dual citizens. Like, if you're a Canadian citizen who was born in
Somalia as Canada's Immigration Minister is, there's still some confusion as to
whether you are allowed to enter the U.S. I mean, no foreign nationals
Any one American has been killed in any of the seven countries mentioned.
In a terrorist attack.
Ever. Since the United States’ founding, terrorist acts have been commonplace.
It has been extremely rare for 9/11 to occur. As an example, American civilians are far less likely to die than in the past decade.
By lightning strike than terrorism. Not surprisingly, the majority of the attacks were carried out by lightning strike.
These are American-based activities that occur in the U.S.
citizens or permanent residents, and those attacks wouldn't be
The order was canceled. The counterargument says that there could be threats
from these seven countries we don't know about, but it's really hard to prove a negative, like, it's hard for me to prove that I'm not a terrorist because, how can you be sure I'm not? In case
Big Brother is watching — I'm not.
"In case Big Brother…" de–
Big Brother is watching. All of these are reasons to be concerned about the ban
don't really fall along traditional left-right lines like, the very conservative
Cato Institute, for instance, said there is "little national security benefit to Trump's executive order on immigration." Many, though not all.
Senators and members in the Republican Congress are unanimous in their agreement. Lindsey Graham (John McCain) released a statement stating that the ban might be remembered as an inflicted wound to the fight against terrorist. The Executive Order’s second part affects the admission of refugees to the United States.
The Obama administration had dramatically slowed the process for refugee applications from Iraq in 2011 for 6 months. It was a precedent that Trump made on Friday, but it is quite different. Trump has announced that he will temporarily suspend refugee admissions to the United States for all countries for 120 calendar days. He also plans to suspend refugee resettlement from Syria. This appears to include people who've already been vetted, approved and received visas, which is also very different from what happened in 2011 Side-note — you may have heard that there is no vetting of Syrian refugees coming into the United States, that is simple not true. This video explains that the process often takes over two years and involves many background checks. The Executive Order also prioritizes (quote) "refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution." which Trump has said will mean prioritizing Christian refugees when the program restarts although that's not actually stated in the order and it's not clear it would be legal.
The US received approximately 39,000 Muslim refugees in the US last year, as well as 37,500 Christian refugees. There were also 8,500 people from other faiths or none. To be clear, Muslim refugees that have been approved for admission cannot enter the United States at the moment. However, Christian and Buddhist refugees can stay for a maximum of 120 days. Interpreters who served in the American Armed Forces, Iraq, can also not get in. Also, this blanket ban seems poorly targeted. For one thing, it lumps all refugees together, whether they're from Syria, or South Sudan, or Burma Like, most refugees resettled in the United States in 2015 were not Syrian, they were Burmese. However, ISIS has many Syrian refugees who have experienced its horrors firsthand. That is a moderating, not radicalizing force.
Imagining Syrians monolithically is as dangerously simplistic as imagining that ending refugee resettlement will solve the US's security challenges. I share John McCain's feeling that ultimately this kind of blanket ban will do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security. Now, Trump counters that it will make us more safe, and he certainly has access to top-secret information that I don't have access to; but given that these policies wouldn't've prevented a single US terror fatality from the last 40 years, it's hard to see exactly how we're safer. There are also other issues of legal confusion in the order, for instance, the order states (quote) "The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution." But as many Law professors have pointed out — that's kind of ludicrous. That means that if you are a Canadian citizen and support a parliamentary system instead of the US Constitution’s system, then are you legally no longer allowed to visit Disney World. That seems to be the law.
Also, when foreigners attempt to enter the United States, as in most countries, they have the right to seek asylum, and be interviewed by an immigration officer to determine if the asylum seeker has a credible fear of persecution but the Executive Order explicitly states that "no benefits" will be extended to citizens of the affected nations when they attempt to enter the United States and such an interview would probably constitute a benefit. As of now, it appears that no one is being allowed to apply for asylum. This is contrary to the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States, which an Executive Order can’t legally override.
No matter what your opinion is on immigration, the Executive Order is a mess. It’s too vague, contradictory and unclear to be effective law. Now, I wanna emphasize that much of this may be moot in 3 or 4 months as parts of the order expire, but even if that occurs I worry we've already made a dangerous statement that the US won't do its part in the refugee crisis, and that we will discriminate based solely on place of birth. These are mistakes. It is wrong to imagine a diverse group with over 100 million people as some frightening and singular Other. This only encourages other people to see us in that way. It's hard to imagine people complexly, especially when you're being told to fear them, but I found it helpful to listen, so I put together a playlist of refugees telling their stories and ask you to listen to them, to believe them, and to see them as people, instead of merely as threats.
Hank, I'll see you on Friday..