Refugee ban in­sults Amer­i­can val­ues, ideals

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This edi­to­rial ap­peared in the Philadel­phia In­quirer:

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has pulled back on his tem­po­rary ban of vis­i­tors from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries, but not be­fore un­leash­ing chaos and in­flict­ing in­cal­cu­la­ble dam­age to the ba­sic ideals that have long set Amer­ica apart from other coun­tries.

Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der, is­sued Fri­day, sus­pended en­try of all refugees to the United States for 120 days and specif­i­cally blocked cit­i­zens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, and Ye­men from entering the coun­try over the next 90 days. Refugees from war-torn Syria were barred in­def­i­nitely. (Cu­ri­ously, the or­der did not in­clude Mus­lim coun­tries such as Saudi Ara­bia and Egypt, where Trump hap­pens to have busi­ness op­er­a­tions. Most of the 9/11 ter­ror­ists came from Saudi Ara­bia.)

For­tu­nately, a fed­eral judge in New York blocked part of Trump’s or­der, rul­ing the ban vi­o­lated its tar­gets’ “rights to due Process and Equal Pro­tec­tion guar­an­teed by the United States Con­sti­tu­tion.” Three other fed­eral judges in Mas­sachusetts, Vir­ginia, and Washington is­sued rul­ings bar­ring au­thor­i­ties from de­port­ing peo­ple de­tained in air­ports, but not be­fore shock waves rip­pled around the world as the Land of the Free slammed the door in the face of hud­dled masses.

Not lost among the week­end’s red flags was Trump’s el­e­va­tion of Steve Ban­non from po­lit­i­cal strate­gist to mem­ber­ship on the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. Be­fore join­ing the White House, Ban­non headed Bre­it­bart News, a far-right web­site that pro­motes con­spir­acy the­o­ries and white na­tion­al­ism. Historian Ron­ald Ra­dosh wrote in the Daily Beast last year about meet­ing Ban­non at a book party in 2013 in which Ban­non said: “I’m a Lenin­ist. Lenin wanted to de­stroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring ev­ery­thing crash­ing down, and de­stroy all of to­day’s es­tab­lish­ment.” Ban­non said he did not re­call the con­ver­sa­tion.

Ban­non’s new role un­der­scores the need for Congress and the courts to main­tain a con­stant check on Pres­i­dent Trump go­ing for­ward. For­tu­nately, some lead­ing Repub­li­cans are also speak­ing out. Se­na­tors John McCain of Ari­zona and Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina said Trump’s ban “may do more to help ter­ror­ist re­cruit­ment than im­prove our se­cu­rity.”

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