Trump’s #MuslimBan Doesn’t Target Muslims And Isn’t A Ban

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On January 27th 2017 President Trump signed an executive order entitled PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES, also by some referred to as a #MuslimBan.

So let’s see how much it talks about Muslims, banning, or anything else of that nature. I will comment on the passages reflecting changes affected by the order in question:

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.

This is the overarching purpose of this order: To do a thorough review of and subsequent improvements to existing vetting procedures across the board.

I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order

This means that for the next 90 days entry of non US-citizens from the following countries is suspended: Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Yemen. Most of these countries are either war torn or considered state sponsors of terrorism. Needless to say, the order allows for exceptions on a case by case basis.

The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days […] Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, 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.

This suspends said refugee program for 4 months, once again with the intention of implementing vetting procedures deemed appropriate and sufficiently in line worth the Trump administration’s national security preferences.

Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further 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. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

In short, the President wants to make sure that people belonging to persecuted religious minorities in their countries of origin are prioritized when the refugee program is resumed, a common provision in many countries’ refugee/asylum programs, and of course only implementable “to the extent permitted by law”, which the language above recognizes, possibly in order to preempt claims of the order’s unconstitutionality.

(c) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.

The Obama administration admitted in a declassified Defense Intelligence agency report from 2012, that the emergence of a radical islamic principality inside Syria was a desirable outcome to “isolate the Syrian regime”:

And so they worked towards it. Most of us are familiar with the disasters that have ensued from stoking the flames of civil war in Syria, culminating in the salafist principality today commonly known as ISIS.

While much remains to be seen, this section of the order definitely reflects the recognition on the part of the new administration that the disarray caused by past foreign meddling, in particular in Syria, has to be taken serious, and has to be approached with the utmost care, until we can be certain that sufficient procedures are in place to respond to the chaos brought about by previous policies.

(d) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), 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 such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.

This simply reduces the contingent of total admissible refugees in 2017 to 50,000.

This was a summary of the most relevant sections of this order. As you can see it doesn’t call for a “ban” on Muslims, nor does it in fact mention anything about Muslims at all. It’s a temporary suspension honing in on specific countries wrecked and radicalized by previous foreign meddling, along with technical improvements in the immigration vetting process, and a recognition of the well established practice of offering asylum for people suffering from the persecution of minorities.

In my opinion it is conceivable that the mix of affected countries changes down the road, given that the executive order in part defers to other agency classifications to make that determination.

How many of those now protesting a temporary travel inconvenience expended a fraction of those efforts when previous administrations bombed those same people into smithereens, how many of them advocated as vociferously as Donald Trump against policies of nation building and regime change? And which of these policies do you consider more relevant to people’s lives, liberty, or prosperity?

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Nima is an entrepreneur and Bitcoin advocate who writes about economics and freedom. He was born and raised in Berlin and received his Master's degree in the US in 2004. He co-founded an auction software company in San Francisco and successfully sold it in 2015. (Twitter: @economicsjunkie)