Refugee ban insults American values, ideals
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.”