I won’t beat around the bush. I’m dismayed by President Donald Trump’s decision to keep people from entering the United States if they are citizens of one of seven nations where a majority of people are Muslims.
I am worried about the message his order sends to our friends around the world, to our allies in Middle East war zones, and to the masterminds behind the radical Islamic extremists who try to portray the war on terrorism as the West’s fight against the Muslim religion in general.
The new Trump policy amounts to the U.S. turning its back on Arab translators and Muslim soldiers who have worked shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. military in the Middle East.
I am worried about the way Trump issued his executive order Friday evening [Jan. 27]. It was signed before the experts at the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Defense Department and Department of Justice had the opportunity to properly review the document.
You can pick out drapes for a new hotel or decide on a new logo for a golf resort without consulting your interior designers or marketing experts. But the stakes are much more serious when you sit in the Oval Office instead of Trump Tower.
The chaos over the weekend from the hastily prepared order shows what happens when the president acts without first thoroughly considering a decision and having government agencies analyze its implications.
Immigrants with permanent residence status, children flying to join their parents, and former military assistants with the appropriate visas were denied entry.
I know the president wants to ensure the safety and security of Americans. No one in this country would quarrel with that goal.
I, too, want our nation’s leaders to make sure the government’s process for screening immigrants and refugees is thorough. The process already takes a couple of years. Perhaps it can be further improved upon.
Or perhaps this policy change is simply a way for Trump to implement the controversial position he staked out during the campaign — keeping Muslims out of our country — and then dialed back when fellow Republicans howled in opposition.
Trump and his aides deny the order is a ban on Muslims entering the United States. But the order does say Christians and other minority religions in the predominantly Muslim countries will receive priority consideration for entry into the U.S. when the ban is lifted.
The First Amendment does not allow the government to pick one religion over another, and the American Civil Liberties Union said the language of the executive order is merely “a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims.”
Two prominent Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, said the order “sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country.”
The Charles Koch Foundation, a financial benefactor for conservative causes, criticized Trump’s travel ban: “We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families.”
Trump said he doesn’t want to see terrorists hit our nation like they did on Sept. 11, 2001, when 3,000 people were killed in New York City, Washington, D.C., and near Shanksville, Pa.
It is important to remember that the men behind those attacks did not come from any of the seven countries that are covered by Trump’s executive order. In fact, officials said no deaths attributed to terrorist attacks have been carried out in the United States by refugees from those seven Muslim nations.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia — which also is the birthplace of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. The other hijackers were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.
Trump’s order led to renewed discussion of his global network of businesses and the potential those business interests will conflict with his duties as president. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, and perhaps it’s not, but the executive order avoids any of the Muslim-majority nations where the Trump Organization does business.
The order is troubling for another reason, too.
For all of the attention the order puts on foreigners and terrorism, Trump has ignored a far bigger problem in the United States. That is the danger posed by U.S. citizens who set out to kill large numbers of people — in schools, on college campuses, in movie theaters and malls.
Domestic terrorists have killed far more people in the U.S. than international terrorists have. But we don’t want to discuss that because doing so would force us to talk about guns and gun control. Muslim terrorists is a topic Washington would rather talk about.
by Randy Evans