Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

We Are Less Secure, and Less American

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

We Are Less Secure, and Less American

Article excerpt

As a candidate, Donald Trump first promised a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. He later walked that back, saying he wanted "extreme vetting" of Muslim immigrants. As president, Trump followed through with an executive order that pleases his political base, but upends our nation's credo as a country of immigrants.

With a stroke of the pen Friday, Trump imposed a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the United States. Additionally, he imposed a 90-day ban on immigrants coming from seven Muslim-majority nations - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - as well as an indefinite ban on accepting all Syrian refugees.

The order went out with little notice to the federal agencies charged with enforcing it. The result was predictable: chaos.

More than a hundred people in transit were thrust into legal limbo as they disembarked from planes believing they had arrived in the land of the free.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who served as an interpreter working with U.S. troops in Iraq for more than a decade, was one of those people. Darweesh told The New York Times once he was released after he was held in detention for 19 hours, "What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on. You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?"

These are the real people caught in Trump's quickly dropped net. Yet the president remained dismissive about the aftermath of his executive order. On Monday, he claimed in a tweet that a Delta computer outage caused more problems at U.S. airports. He also tweeted, "If the ban were announced with a one-week notice, the 'bad' would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad 'dudes' out there!"

Despite Trump's ineloquent tweet, it takes Syrian refugees two years on average to be vetted for entry into the United States. It is not a one-week process. And giving government agencies enough time to understand the executive order and the administration enough time to grasp what it was actually doing would not have been irresponsible - in fact, it would have been the opposite. …

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