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Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Trump's New Immigration Order Is Still Not a 'Muslim Ban'
Brian C. Joondeph
Among many of Donald Trump's campaign promises was a plan to reform a chaotic immigration system with better methods of vetting immigrants. Those who do not support the U.S. Constitution, American values or who desire to bring violence to our shores through terrorism would be screened out. Trump released his initial executive order on Jan. 27 called "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."
Predictably, an activist judiciary tried to stop the order. First a U.S. District Court Judge in Seattle, then the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This week he released version two. More about that in a bit.
Since "fake news" has been a popular theme within the mainstream media, let's see if fake news applies to Trump's first executive order. The New York Times, in a Jan. 28 editorial, ran a headline, "Donald Trump's Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous." The Washington Post, on Feb. 28, ran a similar headline, "Trump's Muslim ban is about to make a comeback." The Guardian, a British version of the two above newspapers, had a Jan. 31 headline, "Is this a Muslim ban?"
Guess the news is settled that Trump's executive order is a "Muslim ban." Or is it? I found the actual executive order on the White House web site and read it. I did not see the word "Muslim" once in the text of the order.
So why did these papers of record, paragons of honest journalism, call the executive order a "Muslim ban"? The order stipulated a 90-day pause in immigration from seven specific countries. Not a ban, just a temporary pause. These seven countries happen to be Muslim majority countries, so to the always-accurate big media, this must be a Muslim ban.
Not explained is the fact that many other countries are majority Muslim and not on the list. Indonesia is 87 percent Muslim, Pakistan 96 percent, Turkey 98 percent and Saudi Arabia almost 100 percent. If Trump's executive order was a "Muslim ban", why weren't these and many other countries included in the list?
And where did this list of targeted countries come from? Is it a creation of the vast right conspiracy? Or from "White Supremacist" Steve Bannon? Was this Trump's idea during a late-night tweeting session? No. Actually, these seven were labeled as "countries of concern" by the Department of Homeland Security in 2015-16 through the visa waiver program. Back when Barack Obama was president running the show and Trump was campaigning against Little Marco and Crooked Hillary.
Trump's initial executive order applied only to these "countries of concern" for the simple reason that it is not possible to perform background checks or vet immigrants from these countries. These countries have chaotic governments unable to supply their residents with the equivalent of an FBI background check that Americans would need to emigrate to most other countries.
The executive order stipulated that the various agencies responsible for immigration take a breather and figure out how to determine which immigrants are a threat to the U.S. Or directly from the order a mandate that, "Procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States."
Not a Muslim ban. Instead, bolstering Obama's visa waiver program. Same countries. Same concerns. But trying to get it right. Think San Bernardino, Mall of America, Orlando. Not to mention Europe. Would these have been prevented? Who knows? Why not at least try?
Now to the new and improved executive order issued this week. The fake-news media still didn't get it right. The Hill calls it, "Muslim ban 2.0". The New York Timessays, "Trump's New Muslim Ban Is Still Illegal." Twitter, as expected, is exploding with the "Muslim Ban" meme. Yet the new executive order, just like the original one, doesn't contain the word "Muslim."
The updated executive order seeks to identify those who support "violent extremism", subjecting them to further vetting and scrutiny. Radical Muslims support violent extremism, but so do some conservatives, according to the New York Times which claimed, "The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists." Meaning that this executive order is as much a Muslim ban as it is a Republican ban.
What else is new in version 2.0? Iraq is now off the list of seven "countries of concern." Why? Because Iraq is working with the U.S. in fighting ISIS and they have a functional enough government to assist in vetting immigrants to the U.S. Green card holders are also excluded from version 2.0 of the executive order.
The future of Trump's new order is uncertain. The activist courts will surely get involved and try to block it. The media and their Democratic Party allies will howl in protest, led by whiner-in-chief Senator Chuck Schumer. The usual rent-a-mob insta-protests will play out in a city near you.
Despite that, a majority of Americans will more than likely support the new immigration order just as they did the original one last month. President Trump is keeping his campaign promises. And that's what has the media and the left so upset.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.