If you’re reading this blog, then I’m sure you’re aware of the Executive Order that U.S. President Donald Trump signed on Friday, January 27th, 2017. If you’re not aware, however, I encourage you to keep reading, as this post will outline and summarize the details of the Executive Order in what I hope is a clear, comprehensive way. If you gave this post a quick scroll and it looks too long, heavily worded, or confusing – sorry, read it anyway, it’s important stuff!
The executive order has been called many things in the past 3 days, but for sake of remaining somewhat objective, it’s given name is “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
Sec. 1 – It’s stated Purpose is to allow time for the review and revision of the visa-issuance policy in order to improve it’s effectiveness in identifying potential terrorists, who try to enter the country.
Sec. 2 – It’s U.S. Policy 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.
Sec. 3 – Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern. Effective immediately, there is a 90-day hold on the issuance of visas into the United States for persons from the following seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia.
Sec. 4 – Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs. General revision of the screening process for those seeking to enter the U.S. including revised in-person interviews, the creation of a database of immigrants’ documents, amended application forms with added questions, and further identification mechanisms.
Sec. 5 – Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017.
(a) Effective immediately, there is an 120-day ban on the admission of any refugee, regardless of nationality. During this time, the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) will review it’s application and admission processes to determine additional procedures in the interest of national security. Refugees who were already in the USRAP process will be admitted upon the completion of those revisions. After 120-days, USRAP admissions will resume only for nationals of countries that the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence deem to be aligned with the interests of U.S. national security and welfare.
(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, Sec. of State and Sec. of Homeland Security can make changes to these policies to prioritize refugee admissions based on religious-persecution given that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in individuals’ country of nationality.
(c) Effective immediately, there is an indefinite ban on the admission of any Syrian national in to the United States (refugee, immigrant, or otherwise), until President Trump has accepted the changes made to afore mentioned policy.
(d) For the Fiscal Year 2017, the United States will accept no more than 50,000 refugees, as any more would be detrimental to U.S. interests.
(e) In regards to subsection (a), the Sec. of State and Sec. of Homeland Security can make exceptions to certain individuals on a case-by-case basis.
Sec. 6 Rescission (Reversal) of Exercise of Authority regarding the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility. Since the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, Congress has given the President the power to suspend the entry of any class of aliens that he/she deems detrimental to U.S. interest. I think this means that the “exercise of authority” (power to) determine inadmissibility on the grounds of terrorism will be shifted (?) Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182 was referenced, perhaps consult that for further clarification.
Sec. 7 – Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System. The revision of biometric screening procedures with the aim of faster completion. Pretty straight forward.
Sec. 8 – Visa Interview Security. Suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program so that all persons seeking a nonimmigrant visa will undergo an in-person interview.
Sec. 9 – Visa Validity Reciprocity. In a sense, this seems like “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” The U.S. expects reciprocity when it comes to visa validation, fee schedule, and general treatment of U.S. Nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas.
Sec. 10 – Transparency and Data Collection. The Sec. of Homeland Security and Attorney General will make public the following information to increase transparency with the American people: (i) information on foreign nationals in the U.S. who have committed or in any way been affiliated with terrorist acts, (ii) number of foreign nationals who have been radicalized since entry into the U.S. and subsequently aided terrorist acts either domestically or abroad, (iii) number and types of gender-based violence against women committed by foreign nationals
If you’d like to read the full text of the EO, CNN has it exactly as worded and signed. Click HERE.
According to the Department of Homeland Security website: “In the first 30 days, DHS will perform a global country-by-country review of the information each country provides when their citizens apply for a U.S. visa or immigration benefit. Countries will then have 60 days to comply with any requests from the U.S. government to update or improve the quality of the information they provide.”
Ok, here is where I stop being objective and start asking some possibly pointed questions that I, personally, have in response to the EO. I encourage you to think out loud, ask questions, vent, and/or provide your informed opinion in the comments below!
First, let’s talk about the title of this order and the first two sections regarding purpose and policy. History can provided ample examples of regrettable actions taken under the noble guise of “protection,” when misplaced and irrational fear (or just plain prejudice) are the true underlying factors. *cough* Turning away Jewish refugees around the time of WWII. Next, regarding sections 3 and 5, what does this mean for the vulnerable refugee population worldwide? How will the Muslim world both inside and outside of U.S. borders respond to this indirect-but-easy-to-deduce “Muslim ban?” Does it play into the hands of extremists whose claim America to be an enemy and now have their “proof?” Will there be unintended backfire from this EO, and to what extent? HOW ABOUT subsection (b) in section 5! So the Sec. of State and Sec. of DHS can make case-by-case exceptions to issue visas to those suffering religious persecution only if their religion is a minority in the country of origin (i.e. a Christian in Syria). That seems to neglect the fact that more Muslims die at the hands of Islamic extremists than non-Muslims. Are we okay with risking innocent Muslim deaths, but eager to help Christians escape? That sounds like prejudice. Again with section 5, there are still so many unanswered questions: What does this mean for the nine VOLAGs in the U.S.? What about local agencies like Samaritas? Four months without a single client to resettle surely means staffing cuts, budget cuts, etc. Once systems such as refugee resettlement are in place in a society, it will be very hard on the infrastructure of such systems to temporarily halt and then restart. However, there’s business and there’s personal; we must not forget about the direct, personal, and highly emotional affect that this EO has had on our already resettled refugees. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands are stranded, separated, and quite honestly, probably feeling hopeless. The wars that rage on thousands of miles from our comfy beds and cozy coffee shops will not stop taking victims or scattering innocent and exhausted people across the globe. And finally, my last thought is in regards to section 10, a section that was not particularly highlighted in many of the news articles that I read. I may be emotionally-charged and presumptuous in saying this, but when I read the stipulations of section 10, I thought of one word:
propaganda (n.): information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.
Hear me out. While section 10’s transparency and data collection could be needed, necessary, and/or beneficial, I think without proper perspective and portrayal, it could be of the misleading nature. Publicizing to the American people the statistics and information regarding foreign nationals who have committed terrorist acts, been radicalized, or committed gender-based violence toward women without concurrently providing statistics for the same acts committed by U.S. citizens, seems to be less transparent and more incendiary. But again, perhaps that is presumptuous. I’m just a person with thoughts and an opinion like everyone else on the web.
At this time, I think the world is in a dark cloud of uncertainty as to what this truly means on a nation-wide scale and on a global scale. I, too, am unable to fully grasp the repercussions of this decision, but through this continuing research I hope to do my part in drawing awareness to the upheaval that Trump’s EO has caused and will continue to cause, in hopes of inspiring solidarity for acceptance, tolerance, and mutual understanding between countries.