Trump replaces arbitrary refugee ban with arbitrary refugee ban

The executive order President Donald Trump signed today is essentially the same, except it removes the explicit religious test and allows Iraqis to enter the United States.

It also sets a firm date for the possible resumption of resettlements for Syrian refugees. In the first order, it was an indefinite ban on Syrians and a temporary ban on refugees from six other countries—Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran and Libya. Now refugees from all these countries, except Iraqis, will suffer a temporary ban that will be reviewed after 120 days.

The stated rationale for the restriction is still based more on politics and fear than on any new or real threat. Trump says the attorney general told him “more than 300 persons who entered the United States as refugees are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Sounds like it’s under control then, especially considering that number represents 0.0001 percent of all refugee admissions since 1980.

And if there is a threat, Trump has not explained why a more targeted, less harmful, screening can’t suffice. The U.S. spends $70 billion a year on national and military intelligence precisely for this purpose.

They say they’re checking the refugee admission process to make sure the vetting is extreme enough. In fact, the U.S. has perhaps the most rigorous vetting process in the world. In involves FBI and Department of Homeland Security investigations into the backgrounds of each person admitted. The whole gamut takes more than a year and a half.

None of the people involved in recent terrorist attacks in the U.S. (San Bernardino, Pulse nightclub) were refugees, and most were U.S. citizens.

“This ban doesn’t target those who are the greatest security risk, but those least able to advocate for themselves,” said David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, of the new ban. “Instead of making us safer, it serves as a gift for extremists who seek to undermine America.”

Trump is also decreasing the number of refugees the United States will resettle in 2017. “I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any entries in excess of that number until such time as I determine that additional entries would be in the national interest.” Donald doesn’t hereby proclaim how he got that number. So 50,001 refugees would make America less safe?

There’s nothing fundamentally different about this new travel ban. The impetus is the same scapegoating tactic that rallied America’s self-loathing masses behind his kleptocratic cause. This isn’t about keeping America safe; it’s about keeping America convinced that Trump is the only one who can keep it safe. It’s all good for the Trumps, who are using their experience on the campaign trail and their newfound brand relevance to expand their hotel empire.

The Trumps are getting richer while the U.S. turns its back on the world. Here’s what people are running from. Here’s why 50,000 isn’t nearly enough. (Warning: Children shouldn’t watch this video.)

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