Here’s my take on the recent order signed by President Trump that suspends immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
- He said he would do this during his first 100 days, in vague and shifting terms during his campaign, from an all-out ban on Muslims to no ban on Muslims, to stricter vetting. Obviously, we knew he would do something and about when he would do it.
- People who had already been admitted were detained at the airports and it appeared that the implementation of the order by executive departments was rather disorderly. It is the disorderly implementation of the order that surprised me, not the content.
- We were shown by subsequent stays from the judicial branch that our government is functioning as intended, with check and balance to bring order to a disorderly executive order.
- I’ve read speculations that none of the terrorist acts committed on US soil were committed by anyone from any of the countries on the ban list, and that Muslim-majority countries excluded from the list are places where Trump has business interests. I obviously don’t know where Trump does business, thus I don’t know the truth to that part of the claim. But none of the recent terrorist acts on US soil were committed by adult immigrants, excepting the wife of the San Diego shooter. The male suspect in the San Diego shooting had been in the US since he was toddler, and the perpetrator in the Florida nightclub shooting was born in the US. So, I believe that there is little rational substance behind the order in regard to the stated object to protect the US from Muslim terror. If history is any guide, the order does little or nothing in that regard.
I vaguely recall similar immigration suspensions in the late 1970’s and early 80’s that covered Iran, Lebanon and Libya without having had the experience of terrorism, and I don’t remember the media being up in arms about it back then. Of course, the present is an entirely different world. But I can’t quite put my finger on what the difference really is other than the information revolution has made the world a much smaller place. Thus my personal feelings about Trump’s order are more toward the side of indifferent, partly because nobody has a right to come here.
The one tentative objection I would have would be on constitutional grounds, depending on whether or not current immigration law provides the President the authority to unilaterally institute such a ban. Since I know little about immigration law, I would have to defer to a lawyer to determine that. But the Constitution firmly places the normalization of immigration with Congress. If Congress did not provide for the President to be able to pick and choose, then there is a problem in the realm of separation of powers, and I would have the same problem with Trump’s immigration order as I did with Obama’s. Presidents cannot make rules with undelegated authority to do so.
This doesn’t make me sorry that Trump is President. It doesn’t inspire fear or even any real inconvenience, and I can say with a straight face that it doesn’t bother me if the immigration gates are shut, because the world isn’t quite as small as it seems. It is a really big place with lots of hotspots. Always has been, and always will be.
There are things that do bother me, however, like the lack of outrage over what the pathetic state of monetary policy does to average people. It bothers me that a handful of immigrants being detained at the airport is more of a civil rights issue than the government’s utter failure in its obligation to protect the means of survival for people who are rightfully here and have done most of the living, working, crying, bleeding and dying in this country. It is a really incoherent and f*-ed up world we are living in at this very moment, and I sadly see no light at the end of the tunnel.