Immigration Reform?

ACC02433GREI wasn’t sure what to pick to discuss tonight. Our new POTUS has been very busy, largely with plans he stated were priorities during his campaign. He has also been pushing a narrative of falsehoods – or lies, if you prefer – both directly and through his press secretary. Between “alternative facts” (crime rates, inauguration size, federal workforce expansion, millions of illegal immigrants voting), paving the way for the promised repeal (with no planned replacement) of the PPACA, withdrawing from the TPP (and even if it isn’t the best trade deal, a wholesale withdrawal rather than calls for amendments is likely to harm relationships in Asia), chilling relations with China through irresponsible tweets, reinstituting the abortion “global gag rule,” insulting the IC, attacking the media for accurate reporting, authorizing Keystone XL and DAPL, silencing the EPA, and the lawsuit that has already been filed against Trump, there is almost too much to choose from.

I have settled on his planned immigration executive orders, which he is set to sign tomorrow according to Reuters.

Does the POTUS have the authority to shut off immigration programs? Yep. From the article:

Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said the president has the authority to limit refugee admissions and the issuance of visas to specific countries if it is determined to be in the public’s interest. “From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights,” said Legomsky, who now is a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. “But from a policy standpoint it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees.”

Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1157] supports this assessment. Trump said he wanted to do this, and now he is doing it. He also said why, as he perceived Syrian immigrants – and all Muslim immigrants – terrorism risks.

This concern is wholly unfounded. The overwhelming majority of terrorist activity in in paces such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Nigeria according to the most recent Global Terrorism Index. The odds of being injured or killed by a refugee of any kind in ridiculously minuscule, and to date I am unaware of any confirmed instances of a Syrian refugee brought in due to the current crisis being involved in any manner of terrorism. I have been particularly appalled by the continued lies by Donald Trump with regard to the vetting process for Syrian refugees specifically, in fact claiming that there is no process. (The new administration is clearly planning to perpetuate this fallacy, based on the press secretary’s statement that they “would work on the vetting process” once the new Secretary of State is confirmed.) Having worked with USICS, I can assure you all that there is a thorough vetting process, and that there is wide latitude for refusing entry. Considering that there are about 4.8 million externally displaced and 6.6 million internally displaced Syrian refugees and that our plans have been to admit them in the tens of thousands, it is intuitively obvious that we are being selective.

The article indicates that Trump plans to target a handful of Muslim nations for restrictions, and on that basis the ACLU is prepared to file suit citing religious discrimination. The specific countries combined with his public statements regarding Muslims may make for a compelling case for the ACLU. The outcome may prove very important; this move makes plausible the possibility that Trump plans to try to move forward with several other blatantly bigoted policies he described in his campaign.

If you haven’t been inclined to before, now is a great time to look at donating to civil liberties groups. And, as always, call, write, and visit your representatives to make sure they understand how important this and otehr policies are to you. Don’t be afraid to run for office either.

If you have immigrant friends and neighbors, make sure they know that there are people here that support them. Don’t give up; continue standing on the side of love.