I’m away from news for just a couple of days, and everything seems on fire. I would have worded out some things about the immigration ban sooner, but, you know… children, work, whiskey, and birthdays. So here are simply ten random thoughts I had about the immigration hold when I finally had a chance to sit down, because the internet likes lists…
1. Some of the wording of the order seems to be interpreted in a way where it can block legal green card holders from entry or reentry to the country. This is essentially an ex-post facto law, and punishment without trial. This part is wrong, illegal, and maybe even unconstitutional under any circumstance.
2. There is precedent for temporarily banning immigration from specific countries. Carter did it with Iran. Obama once did it for six months for everyone from Iraq. Hell, it was just two weeks ago that Obama changed the refugee and immigration policy for Cuba.
3. The point of two wasn’t to say it was automatically right.
4. The security risks Trump cites are highly over-inflated and an accurate risk assessment wouldn’t have advised going anywhere near this far for safety alone, rather than theater that aims at making some people feel safer.
5. Often, though it sounds cold-hearted, refugees simply aren’t our problem.
6. Syrian refugees are. America’s actions directly contributed to the length and breath of their civil war, and we’ve actively prevented any resolution of the conflict that would seem like a win for Assad and Putin, opting instead to have continued violence as the literal goal of our strategy. Our weapons and money have been used, specifically, to prolong the conflict rather than end it.
7. There are better ways to help Syrian refugees than bringing them to America. There are plenty of countries in the region taking in no or few refugees that receive significant amounts of US foreign aid (here’s looking at Mina in Saudi Arabia, and similar sites), who have languages and cultures and geographical locations that would make either permanent resettlement or eventual return much easier. Making continued foreign aid dependent upon taking more refugees could easily be effective, preferable, and we wouldn’t be spending any more than we currently are while avoiding Americans feeling like “dem dere terrorists could infiltrate refugee flows”.
8. A 90-120 day ban on a few specific countries is preferable to his original proposal during the campaign for a temporary ban on all Muslims. However, he does claim that during the vetting process, Christians would get precedence, based on their status as an oppressed minority group.
9. If he was going to do a ban based on immigration from specific countries, he chose the wrong ones. Saudi Arabia should have just about topped that list, but they’re considered an ally.
10. If, in the future, we don’t want to worry as much about the possibility of refugees from these countries wanting to kill us, maybe we should look at what the countries on the list have in common. Over the past decade, we’ve armed violent actors within or simply bombed Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. We’ve saber rattled against Iran, and there’s plenty of US politicians simply itching to invade it, openly. That’s six of the seven countries he listed. Granted, we could be talking about a chicken and egg thing, but at very least US actions have contributed to the kinds of extremism we’re worried about in these countries by, you know… blowing people up.