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News US Bans Travelers from Certain Muslim Countries

  1. Jan 30, 2017 #1

    StatGuy2000

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    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/29/us/trump-refugee-ban-muslim-executive-order.html?_r=0

    And some follow-up news from the Economist:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/01/quick-rebuke

    In my personal opinion, when I had first heard during the presidential campaign, I had thought that Trump's statements on banning all Muslims from entering the US was just bluster. I was wrong (although Trump did lie when he said "all Muslims" --- he meant only "certain Muslims"), and it outrages me that even a temporary ban as described above could take place in the US.

    At least the courts were able to step in to reign in on the worst excesses of such executive orders.
     
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  3. Jan 30, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Are you outraged that he would or outraged that he could [which is what you wrote]?

    On the latter, countries have had the right for a long time to decide who enters their borders. For example, nine countries (including four of the seven on Trump's list) refuse to admit people who have Israeli stamps in their passports.

    The list itself is a holdover from the Obama administration. Indeed, if you read the text of the executive order, you will not find the seven countries named. If you go further, 8 USC 1182(f) explicitly gives the President (presumably at the time Obama) the power to suspend entry for "such period as he deem(s) necessary".

    There seem to be three prongs of attack on this:

    1. Congress has the absolute authority to determine which foreign nationals are allowed in and who are not. but they do not have the authority to delegate it to the President.
    2. Congress does not have the authority. It was removed by the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause under Plyer v. Doe, which found that non-citizens, even illegally, have the right to a free public education, same as citizens.
    3. This is actually a religious ban in disguise. However, this does not ban all muslims: the 90% who live in other countries have their status unchanged. Also,it deos not only ban muslims: a zoroastrian from Iran would be barred from entry as well.
     
  4. Jan 30, 2017 #3

    russ_watters

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    From the media to my facebook feed, people spent a lot of mental energy losing their minds over this order over the weekend. But when the dust settles and the obviously botched implementation smooths over, it isn't clear whether the basic order is legal and/or will be able to stand.

    Digging through the apoplexy, CNN does have a decent article describing the entire issue here:
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/30/politics/trump-travel-ban-q-and-a/index.html

    And that links-through to a more detailed article on the question of if it is legal:
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/trump-travel-ban-legal/index.html

    The problem is that the President's powers are broad when it comes to immigration enforcement and the wording of the relevant act seems self-contradictory. Clearly, Presidents can make country-specific policies and limitations (and I think even religion-specific, though this currently isn't one). Just prior to leaving office, for example, Obama issued an executive order eliminating the wet foot/dry foot policy for Cubans, which was a special priveledge afforded only to Cubans. It still isn't clear to me what legal avenues for Cubans remain, but I'm not sure there are any besides defecting as refugee.
     
  5. Jan 30, 2017 #4

    StatGuy2000

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    Both.

    I am not questioning whether countries have the right to decide who enters their borders. What I am questioning is what is, as I see it, a blunt and discriminatory approach to determine who can enter borders, as well as the vagueness of the order, which has caused chaos in foreign embassies and consulates, and has caused considerable hassle. Remember, it is one thing to end any future visas to people from these countries -- it is quite another to prohibit all people from these countries, including those with approved visas allowing them to come to the country, as has been reported (if people have been approved for a visa, doesn't that imply that these people were vetted to come to the US?)

    There are reports of graduate students, postdocs, visiting scientists, business owners, etc. who are either prevented from entering the US (leaving family members behind), or are stuck in the US because any travel outside may mean they might be unable to return. The 90 day duration itself doesn't exactly help, since it's still an open question what the administration intends to do afterwards.

    I should also add that I have long been concerned with the increase in executive power/authority that has taken place starting from the administration of George W. Bush and continuing through Obama. It's my feeling that many people (certainly those of a liberal bent) weren't particularly troubled with excessive executive authority during Obama's tenure as President because they thought of Obama as a decent man. The issue is that these powers don't end with any one president. We're seeing the legacy of such concentration of executive power through Trump.

    Prongs (1) and (2) would be interesting avenues to pursue assuming there is a constitutional challenge of the executive orders. I would not be surprised if such court cases make its way at some stage to the US Supreme Court (assuming the court would agree to hear these cases).

    As for Prong (3), I agree that the intention may be to impose a religious ban of sorts. In which case the irony is how hypocritical it is, since 90% of Muslims live in other countries not affected, and the countries affected have non-Muslim minorities (e.g. Assyrian Christians in Iraq & Iran, Yazidis in Iraq, Armenians in Iran & Syria, Zoroastrians in Iran, etc.).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  6. Jan 30, 2017 #5

    russ_watters

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    This one is often misunderstood, e.g. interpreted too broadly. Laws may be passed that have the effect of excluding certain religions/religious practices as long as the laws aren't religion-focused. For example, if a person's religion uses human sacrifice, they can't win a religious freedom exemption from murder laws. The murder law wasn't written with targeting their religion in mind.

    On the other side of the coin, special priveledges may have the effect of favoring a religion (Christianity in this case, potentially) if they are not done for religious reasons. E.G., if a group of people is oppressed, we can decide to help them -- the fact that they are oppressed because of their religion would not tie our hands.

    So there is a lot of nuance in the wording and execution of such laws, that matters a lot....not that Trump would neessarily know a Nuance if he saw one...
    It is also worth noting that European countries are currently scrambling to create ways to keep some of these same people out; with both laws and walls (fences?). Open borders policies are great until they aren't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  7. Jan 30, 2017 #6

    mfb

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    There is a huge difference between "not having a completely open border" and "you lived in the US for years, you have a job, a family and a house here, but you went on vacation, and now you are not allowed to go back to the US".
     
  8. Jan 30, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    Agreed. And along those lines, I think it is important when analyzing this situation to clearly differentiate between what the policy is and what happened as part of the botched implimentation. It was botched badly enough that I'm not sure it is even clear yet, but what I have read does seem to indicate that Green Card holders are not to be denied entry as part of the policy.
     
  9. Jan 30, 2017 #8
    This isn't completely strict as I have experience traveling to Syria, Lebanon and Iraq while having a visa in my passport from Israel.

    Maybe they care about all the people in transit who were to put it mildly inconvenienced and how this affects families of people who work here. I was talking to an old PF mentor who works in silicon valley and he said a high level coworker from Iran now doesn't know when he/she will see her family again.
     
  10. Jan 30, 2017 #9
    I hope that turns out to be the case. But it doesn't make it Okay IMO. What about the thousands of students and people who have jobs there who would be trapped in the US without being able to see their families or outside where their lives are put on hold for 90 days?

    Is any of this really necessary? Does it serve any purpose other than to appease xenophobes?
     
  11. Jan 30, 2017 #10

    russ_watters

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    Agreed. I am not clear on the intent for other current visa holders, but I would think that a retro-active revocation or hold on an existing visa wouldn't be legal/Constitutional.
    Meh. It isn't a good/useful policy IMO. I am for improving screeings, since terrorists/attempted terrorists do slip through the cracks (despite the media's misdirected claims otherwise), but these particular countries do not constitute much of the problem and the policy is just way to blunt of an instrument for an issue where precision is required. It doesn't anger me like it does others, but I do think it is kinda dumb.
     
  12. Jan 30, 2017 #11

    russ_watters

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    Yes, maybe. And I care too, but in my opinion rational responses are more useful/instructive than irrational ones. I've seen a lot of disappointing to downright distrubing responses to this.
     
  13. Jan 30, 2017 #12
    I certainly don't support "disturbing" responses, but outside of protests and "making some noise" what "rational" options do people have to get the president's attention? We've already seen how business and protest pressure has altered his actions.
     
  14. Jan 30, 2017 #13

    phinds

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    This point overlooks the stated rationale for the particular list of countries. If you want to ban people from countries that support terrorism, then Saudi Arabia should be at or near the top of the list, BUT ... the rationale of this executive order is that the ban is for countries that (1) support/allow terrorism and (2) from which we do not and/or can not get adequate information about people from there. An administration spokesperson stated that Saudi Arabia provides us with extensive information about people who apply for US visas.

    Now, whether or not that rationale is TRUE and whether or not it is EFFECTIVE, are reasonable things to discuss / argue about, but those who get apoplectic about the particular list of countries are focusing on the religious issue, not on the stated policy. I don't approve of what Trump did and I particularly don't approve of how he did it, but I think the argument should be about what he did, not a straw man.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2017 #14

    russ_watters

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    Yes, that's a good example. As is this:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/aclu-fund-raising-trump-travel-ban.html

    I do get that anger is what drives protests and in that way it does have at least some value even when off-the-wall, but unlike most other Presidents, Trump doesn't appear to care about protests. Either way, what is actually going to get parts or all of this overturned is court challenges.
     
  16. Jan 30, 2017 #15
  17. Jan 30, 2017 #16
    Former CIA director Hayden believes it will exacerbate anti-US sentiment, ultimately causing more problems than it is alleged to solve:

    http://www.mediaite.com/print/forme...utive-order-inarguably-has-made-us-less-safe/

    In other words, it fuels the radical Muslim perception that the US is anti-Muslim, and fosters their recruitment of more Muslims to radical extremism.
     
  18. Jan 30, 2017 #17

    mfb

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    I thought the last 15 years made that causal effect obvious enough...
    But Trump will take every sign of radical extremism as opportunity to continue his program.

    A great vicious circle.
     
  19. Jan 30, 2017 #18

    russ_watters

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    Wait, what? Who would the new terrorists be? The people who are trying to immigrate or the people left behind? If this policy is all it takes to convert a peaceful immigrant into a terrorist, doesn't that just validate the necessity of the policy? And why would someone who doesn't like the USA be mad at *us* for not letting refugees come live the life of the Great Satan? Shouldn't they be mad at the refugees for trying to come here to get a piece of the Great Satan's Dream?

    If that's what we're dealing with, I may need to change my position to "pro"!
     
  20. Jan 30, 2017 #19
    Maybe we should just wait for another 9/11, then maybe the protesters will not be so concerned about the inconveniences of other people. I remember a few days after 9/11 I was scheduled to meet with someone from Pakistan at my place of employment in the US. He was of course was unable to make it because of travel restrictions. I'm sure there were many travel inconveniences at that time but I don't remember any protests.
     
  21. Jan 30, 2017 #20
    I never liked this line of arguing. I can't imagine a normal non-radical person getting frustrated that his visa is suspended so he decides to blow himself up with a dozen innocent people. It's unrealistic, and frankly insulting to most people who live in Muslim countries (It's basically saying don't pi** these people off because they'll turn terrorists as result).
     
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