Assuming Trump’s executive order will keep America safe from terrorism is like assuming someone is a Chinese food expert after they eat a beef bowl from Jack in the Box
The American public has always averted its gaze and kept its arms folded when faced with refugee resettlement. In ‘58, it shook its head—55 percent disapproval rate—at a plan to house 65 thousand Hungarian refugees fleeing the Communist regime in Hungary, according to the Pew Research Center. In ‘79 it scoffed—62 percent disapproval rate—at a plan to double the number of refugees from Indochina, also according to the Pew Research Center. And in 2015, a Bloomberg poll found that 53 percent of Americans didn’t want to let any Syrian refugees resettle in the U.S. and 11 percent more would only accept Christian refugees from Syria.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that, according to a CBS poll, only 51 percent of Americans disapprove with Trump’s executive order banning the entry of immigrants and visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia for 90 days and halting all refugee admissions for 120 days.
This executive order takes an unrealistic, slapdash approach to supposedly improving the vetting process for refugees, one that mirrors the lack of planning or thought a 12-year-old puts into their science fair project. It also once again proves that Trump hasn’t learned how to pull out his phone and do a 10 minute Google search prior to making a decision.
The White House announced after the federal judge’s order to block President Trump’s ban on Friday, Feb. 3 that it would continue to try to get a court to “file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate.”
“The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people,” the statement said.
But this executive order, regardless of its intention, will not result in a safer nation. It will, if reenacted, force the small percentage of refugees allotted to enter this country to lose their clearances while waiting the 120 days, effectively forcing them to start the long, drawn-out vetting process again.
“Because our security clearances are so stringent, the most stringent in the world, all the clearances (refugees gain) expire, and they are only good for a certain period of time,” said Melanie Nezer, vice president for policy and advocacy for HIAS, a global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, in an interview with Vox.
The average wait time for refugee resettlement is 18 to 24 months, while “Iraqis and Syrians typically wait several years,” according to a Washington Post article written by Natasha Hall. But a huge portion of the refugees resettled in the U.S. are children—in 2016, 60 percent of the Syrians resettled in the U.S. were under the age of 18, Hall said.
Forcing these refugees to wait would not only be taking away years of their childhood they could spend in safety, it will also, in some cases, force them back to their country of origin, essentially delivering them a death sentence.
And for what? Trump has repeated that the executive order will allow the U.S. to put in place “extreme vetting” of refugees.
“Tough word—extreme vetting,” Trump said to the Washington Post. “We have to have tough, we’re going to have tough standards. And if a person can’t prove that they’re from an area, and if a person can’t prove what they have to be able to prove, they’re not coming into this country.”
However, the U.S. has one of the most “extreme”—or rather, stringent—refugee screening processes on the planet. Before being settled into the U.S., refugees undergo years of interviews, reference checks and biological screenings by the United Nations’ refugee agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services headquarters. According to a New York Times article titled “Refugees Entering the U.S. Already Face a Rigorous Vetting Process,” because of the length of time “between the initial screening and departure, officials have to conduct a final check before the refugee leaves for the United States.”
And ironically, because of the military presence the U.S. has had in their countries, Iraqis, Syrians and Iranians—who are all currently barred from entering the United States—are by far the most well-documented refugees interviewed by the above organizations, according to Hall.
Also, in case anyone in the crowd couldn’t hear, refugees are not dangerous. A 2015 study conducted by Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration researcher for Cato Institute, concludes that “of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks, and none was successfully carried out.”
That is a .0003 percent chance that a refugee will plan a terrorist attack, and a 0 percent chance that it will be successfully carried out.
Rumors that refugee resettlement will increase crime are largely misreported. In response to this, two women from Germany—the country where the majority of the reports are stemming because of the large number of refugees invited in—have created Hoaxmap, a website dedicated to cataloging crimes reported against refugees that were proven false.
Despite this, the ban would also cut in the half the projected number of refugees the Obama administration had allotted the U.S. to resettle in 2017—from 110,000 to 50,000. Both numbers are embarrassingly low when compared to the number of refugees other developed countries, like Germany, are letting in. Out of the 65 million refugees documented in 2016, the U.S. resettled 85 thousand—according to the Pew Research Center—which is roughly .1 percent.
Lastly, to quote Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell, there is an “overwhelming amount of evidence” proving that Trump’s ban was targeting the religion of Islam.
If it wasn’t fishy enough that this ban was enacted a month after Trump added to his website that he planned to enact “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” he allegedly even told Former New York mayor Rudy W. Giuliani that he wanted to create a “Muslim Ban” and that Guiliani needed to “put a commission together” and “show (Trump) the right way to do it legally.”
So write a letter to your congressman, attend a protest or volunteer at a local refugee organization—the Idaho Office for Refugees is a good one to consider. The block on this executive order could be ruled against any day now.