Three days are a whirlwind in Trump Land, and there was just as much sheer interrobang-inducing activity as one might expect. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. More things happened. These are just occurrences I pulled out as being noteworthy. (As always, these are cited, but I encourage readers to do their own digging.)
(1) Trump and the rest of the government appear to be at odds – again – with one another. Pence stated that the US would hold Russia accountable and that the US and NATO are still buddies. This is in spite of the fact that Trump trumpeted NATO’s obsolescence. Nevertheless, US officials are totes into the notion of getting more allies to meet NATO defense spending commitments and significantly less into focusing on Trump’s desire to become besties with the Kremlin.
(2) FBI is still FBI-ing and [says it is] pursuing three separate probes relating to the Russians hacking our election. They’re working coast-to-coast: Pittsburgh is trying to ID the people behind the breaches to the DNC’s computer system; San Francisco is trying to ID the people who posted John Podesta’s stolen emails; agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants, foreign communications intercepts, and financial transactions made by Russian individuals and companies who are thought to be linked to Trump associates. Related question – Why is James Comey even still employed at this point? (This whole thing is sounding more and more like a Keystone Cops short. Also, I feel like you can play Yakety-Sax in the background for just about anything that’s gone down thus far and have it some appropriate.)
(3) Bye-bye NSC aide, Craig Deare, who took it upon himself to deliver some harsh criticism of Trump (YAY CRAIG!!!!!) at a private, off-the-record think tank gathering. (So much for off-the-record, I guess. Deare was the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs before he laid-into Trump and Bannon and “railed against the dysfunction paralyzing the Trump White House.” (Can I get this guy’s address to send him some cookies?) Obviously related is the fact that Flynn was ousted due to his sketchtastic conversations with the Russian ambassador, but the best part is Trump is still interviewing potential replacements after the fellow he wanted (Vice. Admiral Robert Harward) was like, “Thanks but….no thanks” when Trump asked him to step up.
(4) In keeping with the NSC nonsense and the struggle to find a replacement, Trump is down to three (3) candidates. [Former CIA Director] David Patraeus pulled his name from consideration (ouch), but Trump still has Keith Kellogg (acting national security advisor, John Bolton (former UN ambassador), and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster (Army strategist).
**UPDATE as of 02/20/17 – McMaster has accepted the position**
(5) In keeping with the angry firing of criticizers: Ben Carson was pretty shocked to learn that one of his Housing and Urban Development staffers got the boot after Trump sniffed out some “writings” that were critical of Trump. Carson was “baffled” and “speechless” and apparently nobody told him that one of his closest aides was going to be escorted out of the building until after the fact. (Here are the writings)
(6) Trump is still dithering about with respect to that joke of an executive order: he insists that the new travel ban won’t stop green card holders or travelers already on planes from entering the United States. The Chief of Homeland Security is saying that there will be a “short phase-in period” to avoid people being stopped in transit. (Soooo, basically it might stop green card holders and travelers en route once the phase-in period is over?) Also, none of this is at all helpful from a legal standpoint, as the ban still implicates serious constitutional issues, regardless of whether green card holds can get in.
(7) Trump yelled at some more people again. It’s like, “eat breakfast, find a light switch, holler at some people” every day over there. This time, Trump directed his loud ire at CIA Director Mike Pompeo because Pompeo is apparently not being a terrific enough friend to Trump. Actually, it was because Trump thinks Pompeo isn’t pushing back hard enough against reports that say that the intelligence community isn’t sharing its secrets with Trump. So, baby tantrum. Again. The White House insists that Trump did not yell at Pompeo and goes even further to say that the two didn’t even have a conversation! Fake news! (But it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s serious dissension in the ranks, especially where the flow of potentially comprising information is concerned. Poor Bannon. He must hate it.)
(8) Betsy DeVos is out there gaining friends and allies! Lol kidding. Just the opposite, actually. She’s managing to irritate (and solidify already existent irritation) more people as she travels around to look at schools. She visited one in D.C. and took it upon herself to criticize the teachers for being in “receive mode.” According to DeVos, “they’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child.” (That’s rich, coming from a woman who didn’t know the difference between proficiency and growth.)
(9) The Trump administration is still after our domestic programs – Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps, and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities head-up the list. The stupidly infuriating thing about this is that most of the programs cost less that $500 million annually, which is less than half a drop in the bucket for the GOP-led government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion THIS YEAR. (Where all my fiscally conservative folks at?)
(10) Reince Priebus got very real with the shadow threats and advised Americans to take Trump’s attacks on the media “seriously.” This was after Trump went bananas on the press (for, like, the twelfth time) and denounced it as “the enemy” (you can find old quotations of Hitler doing the same thing, of course). Priebus thinks “the American people suffer” because of the media. (Frankly, I think the American people suffer because no one is teaching us how to think critically anymore, our education system is in the toilet, and everyone is more concerned about the next thing to whip themselves up into a frenzy over, but I guess that’s neither here nor there, as it’s too complicated for someone like Priebus.)
(1) Apparently Trump felt that Kellyanne Conway was onto something when she made up a terrorist attack, so he decided to go ahead and do the same thing! While at a campaign-style rally (because 2020 can’t get here soon enough, apparently) in Florida, Trump took it upon himself to reel off all the places in Europe that have been hit by terrorists (this was in the overall context of attacking refugee policies). This list included Sweden because….? No idea. But nothing happened “last night in Sweden” and Sweden was pretty confused. People speculated that he mixed it up with Sehwan in Pakistan, where there was an attack (what a president), but then Trump later said he got the information from a Fox News story (umm). (Also, the rally was just full of nonsense, including a point at which Trump tried to take credit for economic growth that came well before his time.)
(2) The Department of Homeland Security is OFF TO THE RACES with its sweeping new guidelines directed at illegal immigrants. The memos signed by the DHS secretary empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain (because they weren’t aggressive before?!) and deport illegal immigrants both inside the US and at the border. The White House says that the memos are under review by the White House Counsel, but given how legal issue of been going, this shouldn’t instill us with a significant amount of confidence… At least there’s nothing in the memo about mobilizing the National Guard, though.
(3) McCain apparently has had enough and took Trump to task (would that the rest of the GOP yes-men would take notes on this) over his “THE MEDIA IS THE ENEMY” comments. McCain was like, “Wellllll, actually, that’s how dictators get started.” This was during a Meet the Press interview and McCain was very much defending having a free press. He said: “When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.” (But he probably is, though. Come on.)
(4) Defense Secretary Mattis also thought Trump was full of it, re: the media, and said that he does not see them as the enemy. He said he has had “some rather contentious times with the press” but that the press is “a constituency that we deal with.”
(5) Even Fox News, Trump’s favorite news ever, wasn’t into the “you are the enemy” comments. Chris Wallace told viewers that Trump crossed a line, and also attacked Priebus, telling him “you don’t get to tell “ the press what to do.
(6) Priebus is still loudly denying any involvement between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian officials. He does what little kids do when trying to get away with a lie: “I spoke with [so-and-so of high authority] and they said x, so…” Priebus said he spoke with high-level intelligence officials in Washington who told him that there was no such involvement. (But of course, we’re also hearing that intelligence officials are cutting the White House out of briefings and keeping them in the dark, so which is it, bud?) The Senate, for its part, is trying to make sure all Russia-related materials are preserved.
(7) Foreign policy experts think Trump is out of his tree. At the Munich Security Conference, diplomats, generals, policy experts, and security officials were all pretty put-off and concerned by Trump’s difficulty in finding somebody – anybody – to replace Michael Flynn. They were also not fans of his long and rambling news conference on Thursday, which was followed Saturday with a campaign-style rally in Florida (mentioned previously in Saturday’s list) where Trump suggested, wrongly, that something terrible had happened in Sweden.
(8) London doesn’t want Trump to visit Britain.
(1) Trump’s nonsense has bled over into Pence’s ability to control any sort of message to foreign dignitaries. Everyone is over the US. He went to Brussels and they were all like, “Yeah, no, we don’t really want to listen to you or pretend that everything is business as usual.” Donald Tusk (poor guy, his name is so close to Trump’s), the European Council President, said, “Too much has happened over the past months in your country, and in the EU for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be.” Pence was there to insist that Trump supports the EU bloc and that the US will continue its commitment EVEN THOUGH Trump has been hailing its disintegration. (You know things are AWESOME when the president and vice president can’t get on the same page.)
(2) Trump and his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, also can’t agree on things. Mattis told reporters that “we’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.” Trump, of course, has said “we should have kept the oil. Maybe we’ll have another chance. “ (I mean, to be fair, though, he’s just saying exactly what the line of thinking probably was when we went into Iraq.)
(3) NOR can Trump and his former aides. Cory Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, conceded that there was no evidence for Trump’s claim that Massachusetts Democrats were brought into New Hampshire by bus on Election Day to steal the state for Hilary Clinton. (YA THINK?! There’s no evidence anywhere that there was any kind of election fraud that hurt Trump.)
(4) Trump revised his travel ban! But….it targets the same seven countries as the first one. It does, however, exempt travelers who already have a visa to travel to the US even if they haven’t used it yet. Green card holders and people with dual US and any of the seven countries citizenship are exempt. Authorities are also no longer directed to single out and reject Syrian refugees.
(5) Russia thinks Trump is a naïve risk-taker. I’m sure this will go over very well with Trump, once he hears about it.
(6) Less funny than the above: statisticians are getting concerned about the possibility of “alternative economic facts” and doctored data is the US economy takes a southward dip. Trump hasn’t nominated anyone to the Council of Economic Advisors, which provides the president with objective economic analysis and device. The concerns are rooted in the fact that Trump keeps casting data in flat-out wrong ways. He is also using sketchy math to make his budget projections.
(7) THE MOST UNSURPRISING THING ON THIS LIST: the Republican health proposal would redirect money from poor people to rich people. Their plan is to substantially cut state funding for providing insurance to low-income adults through Medicaid and to change the distribution of tax credits by giving everyone who is uninsured the same flat credit, regarding less income. Thus, a 64-year-old multimillionaire would get the same amount of financial assistance as someone his age, living in poverty, and he would get substantially more money than a poor, young person. More upsetting still is that the draft proposal contains provisions that could be passed through a special budget process, requiring only 50 senate votes. It also would fulfill Trump’s promise that the repeal and replacement of Obamacare would take place “simultaneously.”
(8) Because employers are always just at the cutting edge of being jerks, more than 100 protestors across the country were fired after they joined the “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration. Employers are obviously within their rights to fire employees, but that said, it doesn’t detract from the general crumminess of said employer. In true American fashion, there are already boycotts shaping up to target the businesses that fired immigrant workers.
(9) Trump might be about to lose YET ANOTHER nominee. This time, his Navy secretary may be on the verge of withdrawing. Philip Bilden is a former Army Reserve military officer with little naval experience (but why not nominate him?? Just look at the Department of Education… And also…the presidency) and has experience some pushback based on his lack of familiarity with Navy issues. He’s also been having some trouble separating himself from his financial interests. (Trump must feel like he’s looking into a mirror.) The White House, for its part, denies that Bilden is reconsidering his nomination.
(10) Pence is doing damage control and saying that Flynn misled him about the nature of his conversations with Russia. This is due to Flynn having said (in his [forced] resignation letter) that he “inadvertently” gave “incomplete information” about multiple calls he had with the Russian ambassador. Obviously, this was after he’d said that he hadn’t spoken with Russian officials about pending sanctions (spoiler alert, he had).
(11) Milo Yiannopoulos further confirmed his identity as pond scum by advocating for sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men” and, in doing so, lost his slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Yiannopoulis “deeply regrets” the way his comments were interepreted (um, okay) and CPAC was quick to say that it does not endorse “everything a speaker says or does.” CNN’s Jake Tapper was quick to attack CPAC as well.
I’m utterly horrified and disturbed by so many things right now. (It’s kind of hard to turn in any particular direction and not note something else going down the shitter, whether it be education, or the environment, or protestors’ rights (see my post from Friday).) But right now, IN THIS MOMENT, I am truly heartbroken by the shocking lack of empathy being shown to refugees and immigrants. I’m actually so appalled that I don’t know how to properly characterize it. It feels like such a gross betrayal of all of the better human attributes and is such a showing of unapologetic hypocrisy that I’m a little at a loss.
If you’re not Native American, this is directed at you. If you’ve ever called the refusal of refugees during WWII a “tragedy,” this is directed at you. If you call yourself a Christian, this is directed at you. If you are a United States citizen who is anti-immigrant and anti-refugee and yet still take pride in the Statue of Liberty and our national anthem, this is directed at you. If you are PRO-LIFE, you’d better believe that this is directed at you.
If you read this and you feel uncomfortable, good. I feel uncomfortable writing it. I feel uncomfortable that in 2017, in a globally connected world, we still somehow can’t stop ourselves from being prejudiced assholes who can see pictures of and read articles about drowned children and tormented parents and still say “Don’t come here.” I feel uncomfortable that we compare immigrants and refugees to a bowl of skittles that has a poisoned candy hidden in it. I feel uncomfortable that we rely on the back-breaking labor of immigrants from Mexico and South American countries for our goddamned produce and still say “Get them out of here.” (I’m sorry, did you want that job? You don’t even want to pay people working at McDonald’s a living wage.) And I feel REALLY uncomfortable that almost all of us are the children of immigrants and refugees ourselves, many [most] of whom were treated horribly upon their arrival to this country, and yet some of us still can’t gain enough perspective to find kindness for the new generations.
[And it’s not just in the US; we’re in terrific company. /s Did you know that in Paris, police are teargasing refugees? They’re stealing the refugees’ blankets in freezing weather. They are telling them to get out. These are people who have fled war, who have lost family members, who have lost everything, and the cruelty with which they are being treated is staggering.]
Pull it together, America. Stop celebrating Executive Orders that close our borders. Stop celebrating when ICE deports a mother who has been in this country for 21 years. Start finding your empathy.
- If you are not Native American, you come from immigrant stock. Period. Your family didn’t start out as “American.” They were something else, from somewhere else. Your people came here to find opportunity, to flee persecution, to create a life, and when they got here, they did not “belong” the way that you think you do now. And it’s very likely that they were also treated like dirt. Irish? Italian? Didn’t want them. Chinese? Only if they’re doing slave labor out on the West Coast. Hispanic? Absolutely not. (Reminds me, Ted Cruz being anti-immigration is just the epitome of that nonsensical American privilege.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a richness in diversity and this country is fast-tracking towards impoverishment.
- We have a history of paying lip-service to diversity and then turning around and slamming the doors. We refused entry to Jews fleeing the Nazis during World War II, relegating many of them to concentration camps and death. That is on our heads. We rounded-up Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps, despite knowing that they posed no threat. And perhaps we don’t want to be reminded of our hypocrisy – of being the “invader other” – and that’s why we have all but wiped out this land’s indigenous peoples (and the ones who are left live in poverty and are dealing with pipelines they don’t want being built across their land). In history, there has only been one time when the immigrants brought death and destruction to our shores, and it was when those invaders were white Europeans, at the birth of our country.
- If you consider yourself a Christian and you follow the teachings of Jesus (and actually, those in the Old Testament, too) and you’re anti-refugee, I don’t know what to tell you, I really don’t, other than you’re side-stepping some pretty important parts of the religion. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, biblical stories are FULL OF OUTSIDERS COMING INTO A NEW PLACE and either being treated like crap (which is frowned upon) or by being helped (which is applauded). Like, are you trying to be the Pharaoh? Pro-tip: NOBODY likes him. He’s the bad guy. There’s Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – “When the stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” IT REALLY CAN’T GET CLEARER THAN THAT, YOU GUYS. Deuteronomy also is in on the action and fairly repetitive: “For the Lord your God…loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” 10:18-19. The Book of Jeremiah says “Do no wrong or violence to the stranger.” THERE IS SO MUCH OF THIS. Then you have Jesus who WAS a refugee (a Middle-Eastern one, by the way). “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.” Matthew 25:35. And Romans 12:13 identifies the mark of the true Christian: “…Extend hospitality to strangers…” For heaven’s sake. The Pope has tried to hammer this home, too. If you consider yourself a Christian, and you don’t want immigrants or refugees entering our country, you’re not a terrific Christian. It really is that simple.
- “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” That’s all I have to say there. There isn’t an asterisk on Emma Lazarus’s poem that qualifies the message like “except if you’re poor, non-white, non-Christian, and don’t speak English, then you can’t come in here.” I can pull apart the national anthem, too, but it’s pretty easy to see that “land of the free and home of the brave” is kind of inapplicable when you’re too stingy and afraid to welcome newcomers.
- If you’re pro-life and you’re only fighting for a cell cluster but not fighting for the lives of disadvantaged children everywhere, you’re not actually pro-life. You are pro-restricting women. You are pro-punishing women for having sex. But if you are turning your back on refugees and their families, if you are being vehemently NIMBY about immigrants, then you are not pro-life. If you are complicit with the United States’ activities that have led to the upheaval in and destruction of Syria but are unwilling to show compassion to those who have suffered from it, you are not pro-life.
If you are anti-refugee and anti-immigrant, you are lacking in empathy and compassion. You are deeply un-American with respect to the lofty ideals this country likes to tout about diversity, tolerance, and being a melting pot. (Although you are likely a true American in the sense that our history is full of bigotry, prejudice, exclusivity, and racism.) If you identify as Christian, you are missing core Christian values, and the label “pro-life” cannot apply to you. You may be scared of the unknown. Many of us are. I hate the unknown. I get weird and anxious about it. But the trick to dealing with that sort of fear is education, not hate and not prejudice. It’s diving in, not avoiding.
The United States of America is really hurting my heart right now. I’d like to think we can do better. We need to do better. The more divisive we are, the more we breed hatred. (There’s a reason ISIS celebrated Trump’s EO.) We can do better, America. Let’s do better.
Post to follow.
**Disclaimer: This isn’t a fact. It’s totally a feeling.**
**PSA: Refugees already undergo VERY RIGOROUS screening.**
Recently, there’s been some [apparent] confusion about the process refugees go through to enter the United States. Here’s the breakdown, step by step, of what a refugee has to do before she can enter the United States as a refugee. (The process can take YEARS – it isn’t some slap-dash, hop-on-a-plane, here-I-am chain of events.) Obviously, this is a list that does not include the nitty-gritty of each step. I’ve included some sources below if you’re interested in reading up on the particulars.
(1) Register with the United Nations;
(2) *Interview* with the United Nations;
(3) Be granted refugee status by the United Nations;
(4) A referral for resettlement in the United States (this involves the UN making an active decision to send someone to the US. Only the most vulnerable people are referred and this number accounts for less than ONE PERCENT of refugees worldwide);
(5) Interview with the State Department;
(6) Go through a background check;
(7) Additional, higher-level, more rigorous background check for some;
(8) Second/Third background check, depending on whether the higher-level check was done (refugee’s name is run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist/criminal history. The third background check began in 2008 for Iraqis but has since been expanded to all refugees ages 14-65).
(9) FINGERPRINT screening, photo taken;
(10) SECOND fingerprint screening;
(11) THIRD fingerprint screening (the fingerprints are screened against FBI and Homeland Security databases, which have watchlist information, past immigration encounters (including whether the refugee had previously applied for a visa at a US embassy). They are also checked against fingerprints collected by the Department of Defense during operations in Iraq);
(12) The case is then reviewed at US immigration headquarters;
(13) Some cases are then referred for additional review (Syrian refugees, for example, must undergo two additional steps: Each application is reviewed by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Then, cases with “national security indicators” are given to the Homeland Security Department’s fraud detection unit);
(14) Extensive, IN-PERSON interview with a Homeland Security officer;
(15) Homeland Security must give its approval;
(16) Screening for contagious diseases;
(17) Cultural orientation classes;
(18) Matched with an American resettlement agency;
(19) A MULTI-AGENCY SECURITY CHECK before leaving for the United States (this is due to the long amount of time between the refugee’s initial screening and departure, JUST IN CASE anything has cropped up in the interim);
(20) A final security check at an American airport.
If you think refugees are coming over here carte blanche, you need to think again.
[Of note: this post was originally a Facebook thing I made on January 29 – news stories are up to date as of THEN. I have not gone through and added/amended, but I am including it here as a reference point for the post that follows.]
HERE IS WHAT FOLLOWS: (1) An overview of executive orders generally; (2) a brief summary of Trump’s immigration/refugee executive order; (3) recent developments; and (4) a more in-depth breakdown of exactly WHAT the order says, section by section. This post is a NOVEL; I’m sorry. There was a lot of important information to wade through. Cheers to anyone who makes it through it!
(1) First of all, to get a handle on all of this, it helps to understand some background on what a presidential executive order is and how it functions.
- There is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly provides for or creates executive orders.
- However, the Constitution instructs the president to “take Care that the Law be faithfully executed” in Article II, Section 3, Clause 5, and typically, most executive orders are rooted in this Constitutional reasoning as the authorization for their issuance as part of the President’s sworn duties.
- The idea behind this is that executive orders are meant to help the direct officers of the U.S. Executive carry out their delegated duties, in addition to carrying out the normal operations of the federal government.
- Executive orders MUST be Constitutional – they must be grounded in either a clause that grants the president a specific power OR in a delegation of power by Congress to the President.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the most executive orders at a whopping 3,522. Most recently, Obama issued 279 during his eight-year tenure (by far not a contender for most issued); Trump has issued 4 as of today, January 29, 2017. (Per the Federal Register’s website.)
- The Supreme Court may overturn executive orders, as may Congress by (1) passing legislation that invalidates it or (2) refusing to provide funding necessary to carry out the order. The President has the power to veto.
- However, Congress may also override the veto of legislation invalidating an executive order by means of a 2/3 majority vote.
- Executive orders require no action by Congress in order to take effect.
(2) The content of Trump’s executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States”: It has eleven sections and, as I think we all know at this point, it bars all people hailing from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) from entering the US for at least 90 days. Additionally, the order has stopped the admission of ALL refugees into the US for four months. Finally, it calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program for travelers from 38 countries, including close allies. IT ALSO:
- Lays the groundwork for a database;
- Contains language that suggests the prioritization of Christian refugees;
- Indefinitely prohibits all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., period;
- Caps refugees entering the U.S. at 50,000;
- Implements a biometric entry-exit tracking system;
- • Sets up some seriously creepy information collection and publication of foreign nationals in the U.S. – like what crimes immigrants commit
(3) Some important takeaways –
None of the countries whose citizens have actually be responsible for terrorism on U.S. soil have been banned. Do with that what you will, but also please note that they also happen to be countries with which Trump has strong business ties. Do with THAT what you will. (http://www.npr.org/…/trumps-immigration-freeze-omits-those-…)
Further, refugees coming into this country undergo an INCREDIBLY rigorous screening process and to argue otherwise is to side-step documented fact. (https://www.nytimes.com/…/why-it-takes-two-years-for-syrian…; http://time.com/4116619/syrian-refugees-screening-process/; http://www.usatoday.com/…/syrian-refugees-trump-e…/97043442/; https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/…/infographic-screenin…; http://www.politico.com/…/i-went-through-americas-extreme-v…)
The Pope is calling us out, HARDCORE. (http://usuncut.com/…/pope-francis-cannot-reject-refugees-c…/)
Protests are erupting at airports around the country. (http://www.usatoday.com/…/protests-erupt-us-airpo…/97201416/)
Several Federal judges have issued a stay on the executive order, due to constitutional concerns, but the Department of Homeland Security appears to be ignoring this, in flagrant violation of the law. (http://www.cnn.com/…/2-iraqis-file-lawsuit-after-being-det…/; http://www.businessinsider.com/a-federal-judge-issued-a-sta…; http://www.npr.org/…/arrivals-to-u-s-blocked-and-detained-a…; https://www.dhs.gov/…/department-homeland-security-response…
John McCain and Lindsey Graham are not having it. (http://www.mccain.senate.gov/publ…/index.cfm/press-releases…)
And now it looks like Department of Homeland Security is backing up a bit… Keep fighting! It has an effect. (http://thehill.com/…/316790-kelly-entry-of-lawful-permanent…)
Two Philly-area Republican Representatives have broken with the rank and file and come out against the ban. Word is, they’re catching a lot of flack from the Republican leadership. We should all be applauding them. (http://www.philly.com/…/Two-Philly-area-Republicans-break-w…)
The ACLU is booming. “From Saturday to late Sunday more than 290,000 donors had sent the ACLU $19 million—the organizations typical annual average is $3 million. That figure, as well as the growth in membership, was “unprecedented,” according to Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s executive director.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/…/todays-news-ja…/514865/14273/…)
(4) TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER UNPACKED
THE SECTIONS (I’m summarizing, I suggest reading the full text of the order if you’d like to get it in its full form – http://www.cnn.com/…/text-of-trump-executive-order-nation-…/; https://www.nytimes.com/…/annotating-trump-immigration-refu… – annotation)
SECTION 1: Lays out the purpose of the order. Specifically, it discusses the threat of terror from foreign nationals and further suggests that terrorists will pretend to be refugees in order to infiltrate the country (more on this later). It also states, “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, 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.”
SECTION 2: Defines the underlying policy: “It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.”
SECTION 3: Suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to “nationals of countries of particular concern.” This section gives instruction to the Department of Homeland Security and bans the entry of people from the seven countries listed above for 90 days. It also states that the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit the names of additional countries whose people should be treated similarly.
SECTION 4: Implements uniform screening standards for all immigration programs. Specifically, “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.” **If this sounds like an allusion to a database, it is.**
SECTION 5: Suspends the U.S. Refugee Admittance Program for 120 days. Applicants already mid-process may be admitted after completion of revised procedures (which are to be determined by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security). After 120 days, “the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.” ALSO:
- Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are to prioritize refugee claims made on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in that individual’s country of nationality. **If this sounds like a way to prioritize Christian refugees, you are correct.**
- Syrian refugees are prohibited from coming to the U.S. until Trump says otherwise.
- No more than 50,000 refugees may under the U.S. until Trump says otherwise.
SECTION 6: Suggests that the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security rescind the exercises of authority in Section 212 of the INA relating to terrorism grounds of inadmissibility. (I’m digging to try to figure out what this means, as the Immigration and Nationalities Act already prohibits those with terrorist ties/past from entering the US.)
SECTION 7: Orders the Secretary of Homeland Security to expedite a BIOMETRIC ENTRY-EXIT TRACKING SYSTEM for all travelers to the U.S., and to submit reports to the President.
SECTION 8: Suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program indefinitely.
SECTION 9: Order Secretary of State to make sure that immigrants’ home countries have reciprocity with the US in terms of a visa’s validity period and fees. If they don’t, then the US will adjust its visa validity period/fee schedule/treatment to match that of the foreign country.
SECTION 10: Order information collection and publication on:
- Number of foreign nationals in U.S. who have (a) been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the U.S.; (b) removed from the U.S. based on terrorism activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization; or (c) ANY OTHER NATIONAL SECURITY REASONS since the date of the order.
- Information on the number of foreign nationals in the U.S. who have been radicalized/engaged in terrorism-related activities, provided support to terrorism-related organizations.
- Information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings, in the U.S. by foreign nationals.
- ANY OTHER INFORMATION (how vague) relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, INCLUDING INFORMATION ON THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF FOREIGN NATIONALS CHARGED WITH MAJOR OFFENSES.
SECTION 11: Lays out the parameters of the law of the order.