By Tom Quiner
The wailing and gnashing of teeth over President Trump’s executive order regarding refugee policy is deafening.
Even the sober Wall Street Journal opined that “A blunderbuss order sows confusion… .”
As reminder to new readers of this blog, Quiner’s Diner has been no fan of Donald Trump. Specifically, it has been put off by his character. Regarding public policy, we are leery on some of his immigration and trade policies, and concerned that he is going to be another big spender along the lines of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
However, we are delighted with the team he is assembling, which consists of top conservative thinkers. And his immediate attention to relieving Americans of the stifling regulatory state that drags down the economy is quite encouraging.
So regarding his executive order towards refugee policy, what did he actually do? Let’s slice and dice the issue in a Q & A format.
Did Trump just ban Muslims from entering the U.S.?
No. He did temporarily ban entrance of people coming from seven hostile, war torn nations roiled by jihadist violence. These nations are: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. For example, a Somalian student at Ohio State University injured eleven people in November in a jihadist attack on our homeland. Certain countries have a higher risk at exporting jihad to U.S. soil. President Trump is honoring his campaign vow to be more attentive to the vetting process than his predecessor.
How long does the ban last?
Ninety days. President Trump wants to provide Homeland Security additional time to review applicants after the slipshod approach used by the previous administration which opened the floodgates last year.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security can intercede and make exceptions for individual applicants.
Does the ban apply to Green Card holders?
No. However, in the roll out of the new policy, there was evidently confusion on their status, which the administration has since cleared up. The Wall Street Journal was critical at the swiftness with which the Trump Team launched the new policy, which sowed confusion at airports around the country. To reiterate, the temporary ban does not apply to Green Card holders.
What about refugees? Is Trump slamming the door on refugees from war-torn nations?
The new policy suspends refugee admissions for 120 days, again, to ensure there is ample time for thorough vetting.
After 120 days, how many refugees will the U.S. allow in?
Fifty-thousand per year, which is average for the past fifteen years.
Is Trump going to show favoritism to Christian refugees over Muslim ones?
Trump’s order says it will “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion.”
Hold on, is that legal?
The U.S. code is specific in Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title 8, U.S. code on exactly what the term refugee means, and what factors apply:
The term “refugee” means (A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality … and who is unable or unwilling to return to … that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion [among other things] …[.]
More detail is spelled out in section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. code. An alien applying for admission to the U.S. …
must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.
The Obama administration had a preference for admitting Muslim refugees over Christian ones. For example, they admitted 2000 Muslim refugees from Syria last year, but only 53 Christian ones, despite the fact that Christians represented ten percent of Syria’s population at one point. Those numbers have dwindled in the face of wholesale slaughter of Christians there.
It appears that the Trump administration wants to even the playing field and admit more Christians refugees than the previous administration was willing to do.
So is Trump’s new policy cruel? You be the judge.