Reality for Donald Trump is what he wants it to be, and although the present U.S. vetting process for visas is very tough, and although the Trump administration has provided no evidence that this process had in any way failed, he signed an executive order on Friday that temporarily bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as all Syrian refugees from entering the United States, which strands an unknown number of U.S. visa holders abroad, and throws hundreds of thousands of permanent U.S. residents into legal limbo.
Noticeable about this is that seven majority Muslim countries whose citizens have been banned include, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, none of which have committed any terrorist attacks against Americans.
However, four other majority Muslim countries that have not been banned have two interesting facts attached to them. They have attacked and killed Americans with Saudi Arabia heading the list with 2,369 followed by the United Arab Emirates with 314, Egypt with 162, and Lebanon with 159, and unlike the others where he has none, the Trump has business arrangements with these.
The order also indefinitely bans entry for all Syrian refugees except those who are Christian because, again with no facts to back him up, Trump claims it was “impossible, or at least very tough” for Christians to gain entry into the U.S., but that it was much easier for Muslims under the previous policy.
Remember, these are majority Muslim countries which obviously would have an influence on numbers in religious categories.
Government officials and airlines weren’t made aware of the specifics of Trump’s order ahead of time, and now have to scramble to interpret and apply the new rules. Not wanting to violate the Executive Order, but at the same time having no idea of its specifics, if there are any, they are interpreting the EO so broadly that all foreign nationals from the seven countries, including current U.S. visa holders like green card-carrying lawful permanent residents are unable to enter, or board transportation for the U.S.
People with previously-valid U.S. immigration documents are being barred from, or removed from flights to the U.S., and even detained at ports of entry after having already been on route to the U.S. when the executive order went into effect.
All American diplomatic posts in the world are to “halt interviewing and cease issuance and printing” of visas to people from the affected countries with existing visas having already been indefinitely suspended. If a person is already here, they can stay, but if they visit out of the country, they cannot come back. This means that people on planes last Friday who had left before the EO was signed, and those on planes returning after an out of country trip had quite the surprise upon landing.
One such surprise was that if they were out of the country or had just landed in a foreign country, the green card holders are now stuck abroad and have to go through a review process and apply for re-entry waivers on a case-by-case basis.
With no details spelled out in the Executive Order, it is reasonable to assume that the Trump administration has yet to establish guidelines or staffing levels to handle this.
To give an idea of the scope of people affected, 500,000 citizens from the seven countries have received green cards from the U.S. over the past decade alone, and 25,000 citizens from the seven countries have been issued temporary employment or student visas in the last few years, most of these being Iran and Iraqi nationals, who account for nearly half the green cards over that period.
According the Council on American-Islamic Relations “there is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” and CAIR insists that Trump’s act is “based on bigotry, not reality.”
The Immigration and Nationality Act states that
“no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”
To violating this, Trump has also added that religious test to America’s refugee admission process. The secretary of state and DHS secretary have been
“directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
As far as his preference toward Christians, Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “We are going to help them” referring to persecuted Christians in Syria.
According to the Pew Research Center, about half of the refugees the U.S. admitted in the 2016 fiscal year were Christian. The majority of Syrians admitted to the U.S. in 2016 were women and children, who had already faced the U.S. government’s most intensive and complex background-check which takes as much as two years to complete.
So if you are not Christian and you are being persecuted and face death in your home country, suck it up and man up. They just might get around to you as soon as they take care of those in that group to which Trump chooses to pander.
Your life is not as important.
Would the Christian preference make that a “special right”?