Two Perspectives: Trump Immmigration Order is Reasonable
Editor's Note: The Globe's Editorial Board, in order to further healthy debate, asked the Emory College Republicans and Young Democrats to answer the question below.
Do you believe that the executive orders lowering the refugee cap and limiting immigration from certain countries will improve or worsen US foreign relations and national security?
You can find the Young Democrat's answer here.
By Elias Neibart - On behalf of the Emory College Republicans
When analyzing whether President Trump’s recent executive order will improve or worsen US foreign relations and national security, it is imperative to first truly understand the motivations, details and nuances of the “travel ban.” I should note, the following reflects Trump’s revised executive order, after the previous order was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
The President’s executive order temporarily halts immigration from six countries (Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia) for 90 days, and, again, temporarily halts refugee intake for 120 days. As mentioned, these provisions are temporary and give our nation’s national security agencies vital time to improve and streamline their vetting processes. Even James Comey, Director of the FBI, claimed that it is nearly impossible to query information on some Syrian refugees because the FBI simply has “no record on that person.” Therefore, despite the media’s labeling of this executive order as a “Muslim ban,” the order is far from that. The executive order, as it bans travel from six countries outlined by President Obama as “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism,” cannot be dismissed as solely discriminating against Muslims. The ban targets terrorists. Period. If the President wanted to unduly punish Muslims, he would have banned Indonesia, Pakistan or India, the top three Muslim majority countries. Here, I will concede two qualms I have with the executive order. First, there exist some countries that pose a risk to the United States that were not included in the ban, yet if the President was looking at Obama’s aforementioned anti-terror bill, than his choice of countries can be justified. Second, as a Constitutional Conservative, I generally and principally disagree with Presidents wielding plenary executive power. Although, the President possessed statutory authority to implement the ban through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, he could have avoided some political and judicial backlash if he had worked with Congress to pass a similar bill.
Now, to address the substance of the question, this executive order will 1) have little to no impact on our foreign relations and 2) marginally improve our national security.
First, the six countries that the President identified in the order are not tactical United States national security allies. One of the countries, Somalia, recently established a central government after twenty-five years of brutal civil war and anarchy. Similarly, Yemen has been experiencing internecine sectarian conflict among Al-Qaeda, Hadi and Houthi forces. The Islamic State is prominent in both Iraq and Syria and, of course, the Syrian Civil War continues to rage on. Disparate rebel groups, along with established terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, have increased their foothold within the country. Another country included on the President’s list is Iran, the world’s largest and most prolific state sponsor of terror. In short, the United States does not risk worsening foreign relations with these nations because the United States does not regularly partner with these mostly war-torn and terrorist laden countries. Some might argue that the ban will harm US relations with countries not listed, but there is no evidence that suggests countries will stop partnering with the United States because President Trump implemented a temporary stoppage of immigration. In fact, countries within the European Union have already begun scaling back refugee intake and resettlement, indicating that other world players are implementing similar policies to that of the President. Furthermore, the revised order exempts those with green cards and visas from the ban, mollifying initial reservations by foreign governments.
With respect to national security, the order’s affects are quite simple and straightforward: The United States is taking time to ensure that when they do begin to accept refugees, that those individuals are properly and thoroughly vetted. This temporary ban errs on the side of prudence, and while accepting thousands of refugees may be the more humanitarian path to take, it surely is not an action that represents our federal government’s primary role—protecting its citizens. Until our leaders can assure the country that they can accurately and thoroughly query relevant information on all persons entering the country—whether they be Muslim, Jewish or Christian—then the United States should not accept any immigrants or refugees from war-torn regions replete with terrorism and radicalization. The revised executive order also does not offer any preferential treatment to religious minorities, thereby applying the same standard of scrutiny to every individual who wishes to enter the country.
This defense of President Trump’s ban is not a defense of Donald Trump; this writer still holds very serious reservations regarding the President’s capability to maneuver complex national security issues and keep this country safe. With that said, his recent executive order is not a hateful, xenophobic edict fueled by a hatred for a certain religion; instead, it is a temporary, judicious measure aimed at ensuring the safety of the American homeland and its citizens.