Feb 11 // Jan 27 2017
We were hoping for a nice quiet weekend.
The order heard round the world.
Anyone who wants to get the basis for the uproar that engulfed us all on January 27 should start here, and read the Immigration Executive Order itself.
Outrage aside, Two Weeks Ago News would like to point out some of our favorite passages:
"Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program."
Numerous? According to BBC News, the most significant attacks in this country since 9/11 were carried out by terrorists from countries not on the new list. In addition to that, most of those charged with or dying in terrorist activities in this country since 9/11 were American citizens (190). Another 168 were committed by naturalized citizens, permanent residents, non-immigrant visas, illegal immigrants, refugees and citizens of unknown status. Another 39 were “unknown.” And no, we don’t know the difference between “unknown” and “citizens of unknown status” but there must be one. Onward.
“…the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Wait. President Trump’s order specifies that we will not admit racists, bigots, people exhibiting sexual or gender prejudice, abusers of women or abusers who do so in the name of their God. Didn’t know that. Have no idea how we’ll find all this out….maybe the government does.
We’re going to figure out what we need to know from any country to ensure their citizens are not a threat; then produce a report within 30 days, including countries that don’t comply, and deliver it to the President. There’s an update due in 60 days. Another one due within 90 days and another within 120 days. We wonder how that first report is proceeding. It’s due in two weeks.
Wait, again. Didn’t we know this all this background stuff before? Didn’t we know what information we need?
Ahhhh….Here it is, the part that outraged all of us:
“I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act], 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).”
And these countries? Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Most disturbingly, the Order authorized prioritizing the immigration activity of members of religious minorities (read: not Muslim.)
It also calls for screenings: “This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant's likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant's ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.”
Wait, again. Didn’t the United States already have these? Pretty sure we did….were they inadequate? Who said so? Our new President? That seems unlikely.
More reports are due!
“…an initial report on the progress of this directive within 60 days of the date of this order, a second report within 100 days of the date of this order, and a third report within 200 days of the date of this order.”
- NO refugees from anywhere for six months. Those already underway with their plans can keep going but only under the new rules, not the old.
- Reminder: refugees in minority religions in their own countries have priority [again, read: not Muslims].
Report time! This one based on how we‘re doing prioritizing the admission of people of religious minorities. One due in 100 days; another in 200 days.
- Syrian refugees aren’t allowed in, full stop. Unless they meet the standards established by the Executive Order.
- Total immigration limited to 50,000 a year, wherever they’re from.
We also need to “expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States.” What the….we have no idea what that means other than full-body scans. Sounds far more intrusive but who knows?
Go ahead; guess. You know what’s next, right? A report! First one with 100 days, second within 200, third within 365 days. And then every six months until bio-metric entry-exit screening is fully in place.
Thank you for sticking with Two Weeks Ago News so far. We know it’s a slog but before we continue with the outrage, shouldn’t we all have the facts? So tedious. So boring! But we do have some thoughts:
Someone needs to get a map to Washington.....and a list from Pew Research
If this is a ban on Muslims, the list appears to be missing a ban on refugees from the following countries: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria and Morocco. According to Pew Research, these are 9 of the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations. (The other is Iraq – which is on the list.) That doesn't make sense if this is a Muslim ban. So what is it, exactly?
Before every one of the Executive Orders is issued, someone in Washington needs to think, plan, re-plan, have a back-up, play it out, consider the variables, factor in worst-case-scenario, and finally - over-communicate - regarding its message and ultimate goal. We know. Unlikely.
We are by no means fans of destroying the lives of innocent refugees who are seeking asylum and relief from an environment of terror and violence. A permanent ban on citizens of Syria - or anywhere else - who do not pass the scrutiny of the new laws does not do that. The public outcry and resulting mayhem from students, visa holders, government employees and others who broke no laws, and were simply going about their lives in this country – or trying to get back to them when they were confronted and displaced, turned back otherwise refused entry - was a result of executing this order without plans, steps, and direction for the immigration officers working in the real world, not Washington. This doesn’t inspire confidence in the administration. It was arrogant and stupid to believe it could have gone smoothly. Who couldn't have predicted this would be the result of poor communication and hasty orders?
Some people know a lot more about this than we do.
Do you know John Katko, Martha McSally, Will Hurd, Michael McCall, Bennie Thompson, Barry Loudermilk, John Ratcliffe, Loretta Sanchez, Filemon Vela and Donald Payne? In 2015, this group of Republicans and Democrats conducted detailed and exhaustive research to produce this: “Final Report on the Task Force of Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel.” Find it at homeland.house.gov. Enlightening, Eye-opening. Scary. Sobering. Tragic. The key findings in the report (particularly 22, 23, and 24) may help explain why the Executive Order was issued.
But there is only one question, truly. If this “new” scrutiny reveals that someone is an innocent refugee, someone who is fleeing untold horrors and an environment of violence and aggression, trying to stay safe and unharmed in a new country, away from the culture that bore them, and is now seeking a new home in this country, hasn’t the law done its job? Welcome!
Someone who is fits none of those criteria; someone intent on mayhem and violence, is most emphatically not welcome, and once again, hasn't the law done its job? Ensuring security for all may be inconvenient for some, some of the time. That doesn't make it a bad idea.