According to Fox news, a federal judge in Hawaii put the White House’s new travel ban on hold just before it would have gone into effect (at midnight tonight). Arguments for and against the ban have been ongoing in several states around the nation. The government argues that the ban no longer discriminates based on religion, having removed the section about favoritism for religious minorities, and that the ban enhances national security. Opposition groups including the ACLU contend that the effect of the new ban is still discriminatory against Muslims, does not actually enhance national security, negatively impacts tourism and tech businesses, injures refugees in war-torn countries, and denies due-process to certain parties.
Without doing another section-by-section review I can be sure that, at the very least, this order fails to enhance national security. I know this because the premise that immigrants from these specific countries pose an increased national security threat as compared to citizens immigrants from other countries is not supported by facts. The administration’s claim that the ban targeting these countries is an extension of Obama-era policy is misleading, at best. There was a 2015 bill that restricted visa waiver eligibility for dual citizens or recent visitors of most of these countries due to the threat level, but did not bar admission. The restriction amounted to requiring an interview; a reasonable precaution given that some recent high-profile terror attacks of significance in Europe were carried out by people with dual citizen status. As for terror attacks in the US, a little over half have been planned, attempted and/or executed by US citizens, according to DHS as reported by AP. Business Insider reported that the odds of being killed in a terror attack committed by a foreigner either in the US or abroad is approximately 1 in 45,000, and 1 in over 46 million if your narrow the scope to refugees. The original travel ban was quickly hailed in extremist propaganda and social media for its utility in showing potential recruits that the US and the west in general is anti-Islam, as reported by CNN and other outlets. So not only does the ban not improve national security, it may actually be putting people at greater risk abroad and serve as a tool for radicalization within the US.
The legal-eagles can argue the other points, and I suspect the ACLU and company will end up prevailing on the strength of their arguments – and the fact that the President’s campaign statements are admissible. (He did specifically call for a Muslim ban…) But the data on the threat to the US by people from these particular countries simply does not support the principle assertion of national security and public safety. If this order does not demonstrably make the US safer then all of the following arguments for the ban are seriously handicapped.