Mega-American president and overall political, intellectual, and spiritual whirlwind Donald J. Trump signed a series of executive orders today that will make comprehensive changes to the process of immigration into this country, especially with respect to refugees from Muslim countries.
“We are not admitting into the country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said during the swearing in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
The order specifically singles out the arrival of Syrian refugees as “detrimental to the interests of the United States” and suspends their entry to the country until Trump is satisfied with changes to refugee programs.
Some said however that the executive orders, though forceful and strong, amounted to a rare misstep in what most Americans perceived to be the greatest first week in presidential history.
While Syria is the only country singled out by name, the order suspends entry for 90 days from certain nations based on statute related to the Visa Waiver Program. The most recent version of that visa waiver program put restrictions on those who had traveled to seven countries since March of 2011: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen…
The Sept. 11 terror attacks are given as a justification for the need for increased vetting of visa applicants in the order. Most of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were Saudi Arabian nationals, and others were from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
The order suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days while the visa program is under review.
Trump’s refugee bans were roundly lauded by both typical patriots and critics of previous immigration policy alike. Among the many, a handful of ‘advocates’ and ‘experts’ disagreed.
…Karen Ferguson, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, Calif., said Trump’s plan is “tantamount to a Muslim ban.”
In an email she said, “The proposed pause would force refugees who already went through the rigorous screening process and who were set to arrive in the United States soon to instead wait months and even years to go through fingerprinting, interviews, health screenings, and multiple security checks all over again, all while their lives are in danger.”
Even some so-called ‘Libertarians’ were dismayed.
A safe zone established in Syria would therefore require U.S. protection. This would mean both instituting a no-fly zone, and establishing ground troops to protect the zones from ISIS and Syrian government soldiers. This would be a major intervention, and might require direct conflict with Syrian troops and by extension, Syria’s ally Russia.
…refugee camps—can become sites of radicalization. Daniel Milton, Megan Spencer, and Michael Findley found in a 2013 study that the location of refugee resettlement is a crucial factor in their susceptibility to radicalization. Squalid conditions, lack of economic opportunities, and hopelessness can make camps fertile ground for extremist propaganda. When residents return home, they may carry the seeds of the next generation of terrorists.
The reasons for such disagreement, though, remained unclear.
There are, however, additional reasons why resettling refugees instead can be beneficial for national security.
Acceptance of refugees undercuts the propaganda of terrorist organizations seeking to harm the United States. Groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) use the argument that the United States is waging a war against Muslims to recruit. How the United States responds to humanitarian crises can either promote or counter this argument. Even accepting a relatively small number of vetted refugees can help counter terrorist propaganda.
Thankfully none of the whiners could, or would, dare to disagree with the President’s fundamental assessment of the problem with settling refugees in the United States…
“We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday. “They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers?”
…which I can tell you is a great relief to all of us, here, in the greatest country in all the world. It comes at the end of what can only be described as a tremendous week.
What’s more, vetting for refugees is the most comprehensive security check out of anyone entering the United States. To be resettled, refugees must first be cleared by the United Nations. Multiple American security national agencies then undertake a background check, biometric check, interviews, and medical screenings. The process can take two years.
While there have been the occasional issues—and fixes—in the system, the record speaks for itself. Between 2001-2015, the United States accepted 784,000 refugees and only three have been arrested on charges of terrorism. Two were not planning an attack in the United States, and the third’s plan was barely considered credible. Since the 9/11 attacks, no person who has undergone the refugee clearing process has committed an attack on U.S. soil.