The President’s Latest Controversy

I hesitated before using my posting title above, because anyone who reads this post one day late will think it’s about whatever new controversy Trump’s has stirred up on that particular day, not the one that was raging today. 🙂

I assume, though, that most readers know that I mean Trump’s executive order temporarily banning certain types of entries to the U.S. from a list of Middle Eastern countries.  There is an uproar from “the usual suspects,” as no doubt the Trump people anticipated, but it is remarkable that the topic has eclipsed the controversial policy set by Trump earlier this week on sanctuary cities.

I wrote about this topic when Trump first proposed this sort of thing back in 2015. Then-President Obama disagreed with the proposal, and in my post I stated that I sided with Obama BUT that Obama’s sanctimonious statements were not entirely realistic.

I don’t know the legal implications of Trump’s executive order, issued late yesterday and causing all the commotion today, and I don’t know how it will be implemented in practice. Thus I have yet to form an opinion on it. But as I stated in my previous post, Trump’s critics on this issue must face a cruel fact: If there are more and more terrorist acts within the U.S., even they would feel compelled to take very strong action in the President’s shoes, uncomfortable as they may be in coming to such a decision.

The cruel truth is that we do NOT believe that “Even one lost life is too many.” We are willing to tolerate the occasional terrorist act, because we feel the ideological principles at stake are that important. But would we tolerate 5 major terrorist acts per year in the U.S.? How about 10? How about one or two incidents per year like the mass refugee attack on women a year ago in Berlin? What about incidents like the attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris? Just how many incidents would it take for Trump’s critics to change their minds?

My point, then, is that we all would draw the line somewhere. Those who are berating Trump today have their own tipping point; they just disagree on where it is.

What is new today, though, is that apparently Trump’s policy extends to those with green cards. One source cites White House officials confirming this, and it raises questions.

First, does Trump have the right to include green card holders in his action? Doesn’t a green card grant the right to enter the U.S.? I think the answer is pretty clearly No. As I recall, the law uses the term “brief absences” but frowns on the green card holder spending much time outside the U.S. People who are returning are indeed subject to close inspection.

Some years ago, U.S. Customs agents queried elderly Filipino immigrants about their use of welfare (SSI); how could a person on welfare enjoy international travel? Immigration activist and professor Bill Hing went to their defense, pointing out that their welfare usage was perfectly legal (badly constructed statute), and the feds stopped detaining the seniors, for political reasons, but clearly green card holders are subject to different entry rules than are citizens.

Second, since green card holders have already undergone fairly extensive vetting and have a track record of responsible life in the U.S., was it justified to include them in the current executive order? Maybe not, but it still goes back to the question I raised above: Where do we draw the line? The Boston Marathon Bombers had seemingly-good track records in the U.S. too. The wife in the San Bernardino attacks last year seemed to be doing well in the U.S. too, as was her second-generation husband. So vetting is far from perfect, and even those with green cards can cause tragedies. (So can natives, but we are stuck with them, but have a choice as to whether to allow green card holders re-entry.)

Most of us would want to strike a reasonable balance between the potential for danger and our idealistic principles. But if pressed, how many of us would know where to draw the line? Trump has now set a timeout while his government tries to determine what a good policy ought to be. He has set a temporary moratorium, exactly what he campaigned on, proposing in his words at the time to “close the door until we figure out what the hell is going on.” I don’t think those who were attacked in Boston and San Bernardino would consider such an approach to be totally off base.




43 thoughts on “The President’s Latest Controversy

  1. Courts interfering in the Executve Oder may be exceeding their authority. The President has clear authority to handle or suspend visas, including green cards:

    8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • True, and no court is challenging that authority. What they are challenging is the nation-based (possibly religion based) discrimination. This is in direct violation of the 14th amendment as well as immigration law (U.S. Code title 8, 12-II-I 1152)
      If the ban said all J-class visas (with some reasonable justification), there would be likely no discrimination regarding those laws above


  2. In addition, everyone who enters the US should look beyond his personal situation because his safety once here also depends on denying entry to those who want to harm the US and anyone here. There are few instances where the terrorists filter whom they harm by nationality or religion.

    At this time, it appears that the refugees especially are in safe situations (like Turkey) and are in no immediate harm. It is the rush by the previous administration to admit as many refugees as possible that has led to the poor vetting. I am stunned that the US accepts in lieu of an official birth record the affidavit of a family member and other easily falsified records.

    There are certainly instances of refugees that demand priority processing. Anyone who assisted the military and their families should have been at the front of the line long ago. Religious leaders of minority denominations being persecuted are others of particular concern.

    As for the other visa holders, there is minimal vetting for applicants for non-immigrant (tourist, business, student and guest worker) visas. We should be particularly concerned about family members likely to overstay and younger men and women who are the most likely to be involved in inappropriate activities. I do not give green card holders a pass because I know several who have misrepresented themselves in order to obtain a GC for either themselves or family members. With arranged marriages, even a sponsoring spouse does not know the husband or wife being sponsored very well. Even guest workers traveling on business need to be vetted. Other countries do it. my son with an extensive travel history was questioned for longer than usual; he had taken a vacation tour which happened to terminate in a Muslim majority country where he was for less than 24 hours in order to catch his flight to his home. If anything, more countries need to be added to the ban.

    I am particularly concerned about students. As a woman who frequently visited a campus on which there were many foreign students from countries in which women were second class citizens, I have personally experienced disrespectful behavior from young men from Muslim majority countries. The lack of respect shown me, a disabled older woman, was disappointing. The disrespect shown the European and some Asian ethnic faculty has gotten worse over time; even those who go out of their way to help international students having language based academic difficulties are more worn down now from the aggressive conduct of some of the students than in the past. I can only imagine how all of the women students are treated in the courses where there are many foreign national men. If these students behave in this manner in public, what are they doing in private.

    Everyone – including businesses who have chosen to hire international workers – needs to calm down. After all, what do the businesses really know about their workers. It is not like they do a security screening. Unlike American workers who are likely to have a credit and criminal histories for a company to check, an H-1B worker has none of that. Given that they are not deported for and are able to conceal from employers DUI, stealing, identity theft, or even sex crimes, I have little confidence that a guest worker has had a comprehensive background check.

    Only US citizens have a right to enter the US. All others do so at the option of the US government agency which has been charged to help keep all citizens and others withing our borders at a particular time safe. This is getting harder all of the time. Unless the ones complaining are also volunteering to be the ones in the line of fire of the terrorists and others who want to do us harm, they need to shut up, go home, and give the new administration time to define a, hopefully, better process.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Why 6 or 7 countries… why was this ban (greencard) not extended to other countries if these numbers have any truth in them —

    And even in a better, why not put a greencard moratorium on all countries until we figure out how to deal with alphabet visa reform — Especially from most populated countries (politically correct) aka India, China that are taking away our jobs (india) and national security (espionage, etc) ? Is that not in best interest of our country? Guess beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder (the ‘advisors’ that drafted this EO) ..

    When would CEOs/ACLU and the like fight and ‘march’ for the rights of the american worker and get a ‘TRO’ from a federal judge?


  4. I am an immigrant myself – came to this country 37 years ago as a refugee with two suitcases and $130.

    I am US citizen now and this is the only citizenship I have.

    So, I see this issue from the inside and from both sides.

    The immigrants today are not the same as before. Many have dual citizenship, have real estate and other assets abroad, hide these and qualify for social programs in this country. As poor, they are qualified for many services that native-born people are not. They also have different moral standards and have no qualms doing it.

    Even more importantly, their allegiance, despite their oath, is not to this country, and they support policies that benefit their original country, where many plan to retire. It is also should be of no surprise that many of them have businesses involved in outsourcing of American jobs.

    I had voted for Trump and I fully support his attempts to solve our current problems.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Norm,

    I think you are absolutely dead-on in regards to tripping points.

    My wife who is from the Philippines where the wait to sponsor a brother or sister for immigration is 25 years and where her 65 year old parents were denied a Tourist Visa to attend our son’s marriage because they were subsistence farmers / fishermen without assets. They could not overcome the assumption built into our immigration laws that their true intentions were to overstay their visas and remain in this country. It was actually an absurd justification and decision in their particular case because as the parents of a US Citizen my wife was entitled to sponsor their immediate permanent immigration and path to U.S. citizenship within as short as a 3 month process. They didn’t want to immigrate and live in the U.S., they just wanted to attend their grandson’s marriage and have a short visit with the rest of their grandchildren they had not seen since they were young children. Where were the self-righteous marchers, protesters and protectors for that unfair “LEGAL Immigration” treatment Governor Brown?

    So when I listened to my Governor Jerry Brown rebuke and defy President Trump last week I was angry with him and the liberal left. Your above discussion about tipping points was on my mind too.

    I wanted to have this discussion with Governor Brown:

    If the proximity of the of the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and other Asian and African countries where extreme economic hardship and lack of opportunity were as close to CA as Mexico and their proximity allowed another 25 – 50 million or more of their Asian and African people to illegally enter CA would he still be so accommodating and supportive of his illogical “Open Borders” position. His irrational position and policies on being a Sanctuary State allow mostly non-vetted Mexicans to establish their own immigration quotas into the US ahead of the rest of the world. (and yes, our relatives in the Philippines) It also requires CA residents to provide education, medical and other support services to those that are not entitled to them and requires US taxpayers to spend billions of dollars on border law enforcement trying to stop “JUST” the illegal immigration from Mexico alone.

    Governor Brown’s position is particularly upsetting to our family because we followed immigration laws in helping a few of my wife’s relatives to legally immigrate from the Philippines and we didn’t break the law by trying to help many other members of her extended family illegally immigrate to the US even though they are experiencing extreme poverty and lack of opportunity too.

    Instead, we try to help them there in the Philippines where our US dollars and support go much further in their local economy in purchasing food and education. We are a living example or President Trump’s position of helping many more Refugees and to a much greater level of support by providing them protection, food and shelter in their own country rather than selecting and supporting a small number of the Refugees for the far more expensive costs of immigration, resettlement and path to US Citizenship. If we truly value the welfare of ALL Refugees it makes no logical sense to only select a small percentage of Refugees for resettlement the US and other countries and leave the vast majority of them behind unprotected and living in squalor.

    So that’s my 2 cents on “tipping points” and sundry! 🙂

    Norm, thanks for your continued discussion and thoughts on immigration and other topics, they are always an educational and enjoyable read.

    Best Regards,

    Rick MacDonald

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Rick. Regarding your comments on what would happen if Asian countries were right next door to the U.S., when Bill Clinton was president, he told Deng Xiaoping that China needed to allow free emigration in order for the U.S. and China have good relations. Deng called Clinton’s bluff, saying, “Oh, no problem. How many millions of people do you want?” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Let’s relate this current Trump “temporary extreme vetting” policy to F1 Student Visas, H1B Visas and Green Cards. The Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, is a Pakistani native. His father was a general in the Pakistani Air Force. Shahzad was granted an F1 Student Visa in December 1998 despite having a C grade point average from a now defunct Washington, D.C. university. Reasonable to assume his getting the student visa was due to family connections. He transferred to University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2000. Bridgeport had an association with a university in Pakistan where Shahzad first started his college studies. Right before graduating from Bridgeport in May 2002 with a BA degree in “Computer applications and information systems”, he received a H1B Visa. For the next three years he worked under that H1B Visa at Elizabeth Arden in Stamford CT. One report I read at the time of his planned bombing in May 2010, indicated he was working through an employment agency, but other reporting claimed he worked directly for the company. Based on his reported salary of $50,000 plus description of job duties, seems clear he was at best a “junior financial analyst” or more likely simply an accounting clerk. Shahzad received a green card in January 2006, and became a naturalized US citizen in April 2009. BUT he traveled to Pakistan in 2008 and 2009 under that green card.

    If this is not a classic example of how dysfunctional all our Visa applications programs and entry screening processes are, I don’t know what is. The Trump administration should be citing the Shahzad case as examples of the “extreme vetting” that is needed as well as the farce of our current F1, H1B and green card programs. And I’d go further and challenge the Zuckerbergs and Cooks by saying Shahzad could as easily been working at Facebook or Apple. But the administration should be criticized for not extending this “temporary” ban to travelers from Pakistan,Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Terrorism is one concern. Mine is culture, crime and violence.

    Look at the Women’s March on Washington. Deluded ignorant feminists worried that Trump is going to take away their abortion rights and free contraception. But not one word for their European sisters who are the victims of an ever-growing sexual assault epidemic by Muslim immigrants.

    Only on conservative and Christian websites do you hear about these:

    Rotherham, UK Scandal – 1400+ women and children victimized in sex slave ring over a dozen years

    Cologne, Germany – 500 -1000 women sexually assaulted or raped on New Years Ever 2015

    Germany – 75% of Algeria migrants have been sex assault suspects

    Sweden – 77% of rapes committed by 2% Muslim population
    – 50 No-go zones where police don’t patrol ruled and are ruled by immigrant gangs and Sharia law

    What will take for the leftist leaders here to wake up?

    Part of me wishes that Trump sends 1000 refugees to the district of each Dem senator or congressmen/women that skipped his inauguration.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in this ban tells you that Trump is kind-of bullying the weak. Pakistan was habouring OBL, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and terrorists from Pakistan have harmed US interests elsewhere including the 1993 WTC bombing. so give me a break everyone.

    This is smoke and mirrors as far as I am concerned as much as I actually like Trump’s basic ideas.
    Rumour is, for the 2018 H-1B allocation, it will still be the insane lottery we’ve had the past decade. So where’s the real fix? Even going by salary in descending order would take 3 weeks to implement.


  9. I think that President Trump has picked a fight he can win, and that the opponents have taken the bait.

    First of all, there is very wide support for restricting immigration from nations who have a major terrorism problem. The average voter in fly-over land sees this as completely reasonable, in fact long overdue. They regard the protesters as crazy people. I am not just talking here about those who voted for Trump. Even people who voted for Hillary do not want European-style rape mobs in American cities.

    And yes, it is politically incorrect to say it like that.

    Second, there is little doubt that the President has the authority to do this. The legal fussing is both ineffective and feeds into the narrative of leftists using the courts to impede all sensible action.

    Third, it the administration feels the need to retreat a little, they can just allow those with Green Cards to re-enter the country. This would permit talk about “Compromise” while not changing anything relevant.

    I think that Trump is going to win this, and that it will establish a precedent.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There are 1000 americans dying of gun violence for every 1 killed due to terrorism. Its easy to blame outsiders for all the problems, when leaders don’t have courage to solve the internal problems. This has happened countless times in world history, and that’s what is happening here. So, please stop justifying this madness.


      • For starters, zero Americans were killed by the citizens of the 7 banned countries. So, it’s a BS argument to begin with that it’s about safety.

        Secondly, my point was more about that if the president really cares about safety of Americans, why doesn’t he spend atleast 1 percent of the time he spends talking about Muslims and talk about gun violence instead? Let me give a clue, he either is a coward or he doesn’t give a sh*t about safety.


          • Lol, so that’s your justification. If you consider that, and go back in time, I bet you would find some small crime committed by immigrants from any nation, and in fact some nations way more than any of the ones in the banned list. So, even if you justify Somalia, why are the other 6 countries included? Also, good deflection on the point on gun control.


          • Again, that list of 7 countries was compiled during the Obama administration. The reasoning, as I understand it, is that these countries have no way to vet people coming to the U.S., and/or are accused of harboring terrorists. If you want to know more details, I don’t know them, and you will have to go back to the news reports of that time.

            I don’t know what said about gun control, and don’t have time to go back and check. But if you accused me of being a Gun Owners’ Rights type, you were 180 degrees in error.


  11. “There is an uproar from “the usual suspects,””

    Yup. Big time. I count myself as “mostly liberal”, but many “liberals” give liberals a bad name by always over-reacting, over-dramatizing, and over-playing their hands. And those phenomenon are evident on the airwaves over the past 24-48 hours. I mean after all, this is just a dufus PR stunt by our new Clown in Chief. No need to panic folks! It will pass, and in fact already has, once a sober judge had a look at how ludicrous and unplanned/misplanned the whole thing is/was.

    Anyway, I just have to shake my head when the “liberals” get up on TV and start ranting a raving about how absolutely and unambiguously evil this thing is. Fuggetaboutit. As people in the legal field would say, we don’t even have to “reach” any of the arguments about whether or not Trump’s order is legal or ethical or moral or constitutional. There is an overriding first-order consideration that should be occupying our thoughts first and foremost, even before any of those other considerations, i.e. pragmatism. Trump’s order is fundamentally STOOPID and pragmatically useless. As CNN, to their credit, has pointed out multiple times, Turmp has banned immigration from a bunch of countries that never sent us *any* terrorists (yep, zero) and yet his order carefully avoids banning immigration from our good friends Pakistan, U.A.E, and Saudi Arabia… three countries that *have* sent us terrorists.

    Some of you may remember our pals Saudi Arabia… you know… the ones that sent us 15 out of the 19 9/11 hijackers. Trump, in his infinite wisdom, elected *not* to lift a finger about immigration from there, maybe because (1) we need their oil, and/or (2) we got troops stationed there and/or (c) apparently Trump owns property there.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Yea boy, our Dufus in Chief, protecting the American People (insert flag here) from all of those dangerous Icelandic terrorists! Brilliant!

    I oppose Trump’s executive order on immigration, first and foremost, *not* because it is illegal, or immoral, or unethical, or even because it might violate international treaties we’ve signed, including the Geneva Convention. Nope. I oppose it because it is just simply STOOPID on the face of it. It’s moronic. It’s just political theater. It’s like as if a cop witnessed a robbery in broad daylight and then just decided that rather than arresting the actual perp, he would instead arrest some other random innocent passer-by.

    Maybe we could watse a lot of time and airwaves debating the ethics, morality, and legality, or lack thereof, or banning immigration from certain countries and/or by certain ethnic or religious groups,
    but I think we can wait and have those debates when immigration is once again allowed from non-troublesome countries, and when (i.e. never) immigration from our good friends Pakistan and Saudia Arabia gets banned instead. Until then, it is a waste of time to debate the ethics or legality. It is, for now, enough to just say that the current policy is just simply moronic, and in fact, worse than useless. It ain’t gonna protect anybody from any actual credible threat.


      • But Trump was elected to do a better job than Obama on this. Otherwise, we could have elected Hillary to continue Obama’s policies.

        Saudi Arabia and Pakistan should have been on that list. I don’t know if it is precedent or Trump’s business interests that makes a difference here.


        • It continues to amaze me that, considering the huge importance of the topic (regardless of which side one is on), people REFUSE TO LOOK INTO THE FACTS. The list of 7 countries came from the Obama administration.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. MIT has been making a major fuss about Iranian students who have been stopped from returning to school.

    In 2015 NYT celebrated the fact that MIT was ignoring an Obama admin. ban on Iranian students studying subjects like nuclear engineering.

    “We do not restrict admitted students from classes” – MIT. There are 10,000+ Iranians at US Universities, 4/5 are in STEM.

    Maybe MIT should tell us how many Iranians are taking WMD related classes, but the media is unlikely to ask them.


  13. Hmmmm. The Ninth Circuit has decreed that Obama’s DACA order is the sole and final word, and so the State of Arizona must issue driver’s’ licenses to DACAs. Arizona is to have no say.

    But care to bet the Ninth Circuit decrees that Trump’s immigration Executive Order is not the last word, and so the States of Washington and Minnesota have standing, have say, and can stop the entire Executive Order nationwide.

    Hypocrisy and lawlessness, thy names are “liberal”.


  14. The list of 7 countries did indeed come from the Obama administration. What it did was remove those countries from the Visa Waiver Program and changed the way that people from those countries must apply for visas. It didn’t restrict people indiscriminately from coming into this country (but note that the ACLU disagrees with what Obama did):

    I don’t like the way immigration is handled in this country and I think the H1B visa has encouraged companies to fire Americans and replace them with people who cost less and/or are more compliant. It’s a scandal.

    But we have a rule of law in this country. If people have already been told that they have a right to enter this country, the executive branch shouldn’t indiscriminately and suddenly cancel visas and green cards (for crying out loud—-Bannon is such a charmer) on the basis of “safety”. What a load of ham-fisted crap.
    Change the laws legitimately. Quit giving Trump badly-written EOs to sign.

    Norm, how do I get off your e-mail list? I haven’t been able to figure that out. Tired of all the pro-Trump stuff. The man has serious problems and I wouldn’t even want a Democratic president who has the issues that he does.


    • First you said the 7 countries were chosen to avoid places where Trump has investments. Now you concede that the list came from the Obama era. It’s really hard to have a meaningful exchange with you. We had gridlock during Obama’s time because the Republicans deliberately trying to sandbag him. Now the Democrats are doing the same to Trump, typified by your attitude here. So, we all should brace ourselves for more gridlock.

      I have never been “pro-Trump”; I have merely been pro-fair discussion. Sadly, many don’t want that.

      Your name is now off my list.


      • You’re confusing me with somebody else. I never said anything about the 7 countries not doing business with Trump.

        My attitude is that EOs in general are overused. Lincoln used one to free the slaves, but FDR used one to intern the Japanese. They are very powerful tools but can be used for good or for ill. I’d much prefer a functioning legislative branch and it’s true that we don’t have one. In any case, I’ll take gridlock over badly crafted EOs any day.

        Thank you for taking me off the e-mail list.


        • EOs are overused, that’s for sure. But WHY are they used so much? The answer is the presidents resort to them when gridlock prevents them from getting any action from Congress.


          • Nothing new there. It’s easier for one person to dictate policy than for a group of people to come up with a consensus. Maybe the gridlock is worse now because the two parties are so split. But it has been argued, that the public often votes in a Congress of one party and a President of the other because the public doesn’t like it when either party has too much power. I don’t know what the answer is to fix this.


    • I continue think that President Trump has picked a fight he can win. The only way for Trump to “lose” this one is for the 9th circuit to declare the EO to be invalid, and for the Supreme Court to then refuse to consider the (inevitable) appeal.

      If that happens then the Supreme Court nomination which is upcoming will go Thermonuclear.

      Either way, Trump wins.


      • The Supreme Court nomination has indeed become even more of a flash point due to the travel ban and the Seattle judge. Here is a scenario: The Trump people first get McConnell to invoke the “nuclear option,” revoking the filibuster capability for court nominees, thus getting Gorsuch in. They then appeal the travel case to the Supreme Court. But don’t expect the Court to necessarily uphold the travel ban.


      • “The only way for Trump to “lose” this one is for the 9th circuit to declare the EO to be invalid, and for the Supreme Court to then refuse to consider the (inevitable) appeal.”

        From what I hear, the above is not correct.

        The 9th Circut has now ruled against Turmp… but just with regards to the TRO. Neither they nor the district court have as yet fully and fairly considered the ban “on the merits”.

        The issue will very likely go to the Supreme Court, and the Supremes *will* very likely take up the matter. But if there is a 4-4 split when THEY decide the matter (which is more than likely), then the lower (9th Circuit) ruiling stands. So Trump can still lose, even if the Supremes do take the case. However…

        As was noted on CNN the other day, if Trump actually grows a brain and decides not to act impetuously for once in his life, he could, in theory, *not* try to take the case to the Supremes right away, and instead take the case back to the (Seattle) district court for an actual trial on the merits first. (We haven’t had that yet… only a TRO.) Tactically, that would be clever, because it would allow time for him to get his nominee onto the Supreme Court, after which he could THEN appeal the disctrict court’s ruling, and the 9th Circuit’s ruling, on the merits, if those both go against him, and by then, at that point in time, he would have a conservative majority on the Supreme Court so that he’s have a good chance of getting a 5-4 split allowing him to do pretty much whatever damn fool stupid thing Steve Bannon tells him to do today.


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