While I understand the concerns of those who fear entry into the US of those who intend harm to the lives of US citizens and our way of life, a sweeping order of this sort does not strike me as the best way to address those concerns.
First, a clarification.
Unless I’ve missed something, the wording of the order does not bar all immigrants from entry. In Sec. 3(c), it states:”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, 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.” Section 217(a)(12) refers to visa waivers, not visa holders.
I am not sure what the crisis at the airports is all about, unless I have missed something in the text of the order or in the interpretation of the order. (It is rather full of legalese.) I invite legal clarification if I’ve missed something.
Second, my concerns.
Refugees: Sec. 5 refers to the refugee situation. A 120-day suspension is 121 days too long for many. Again, I understand the desire to, and possible need for, review of the procedures. However, we already have an extensive refugee admission process in place, and to keep people already uprooted, with their lives turned upside-down, in limbo for four additional months (after possibly years of waiting), just for the sake of a review of procedure seems unwarranted.
Syrian Refugees: Sec. 5(c) refers specifically to refugees from Syria. Oh, how this one breaks my heart! I don’t have a solution for the Syrian tragedy, but it seems the least we could do is give people a safe refuge from the violence and terror that they have been facing the last several years! Most people simply want to live a peaceful, quiet life. Have we learned nothing from history! (How many pre-World War 2 refugees did we turn away to die?)
Persecuted Refugees: Sec. 5(e) is probably the section being declared as focusing on Christian refugees. The wording is not so specific: “when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution.” I can get behind prioritizing refugees fleeing persecution, no matter what their religion. This could be Shia Muslims from Yemen or Yazidis from Iraq, not only Christians from Syria. ISIS is no respecter of non-Sunni religions when it comes to genocide.
Interdepartmental Collaboration: Finally, this order calls for the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Director of National Intelligence to work together. This is no small task and will take a considerable amount of time to even set up the protocols for collaboration. Those whose lives are in danger do not have time to wait for these departments to find a way to work together!
This is my call for the Trump administration to rethink elements of this order. Yes, we must protect our borders from those who would seek our harm, but in my opinion, this approach does more harm than good.