Trumps new immigration ban: a more moderate approach

On Monday morning President Trump released the new and reformed version of his January immigration ban, a controversial executive action that received major criticism both domestically and abroad.

With much surprise, the new reform is much more subtle in its intent clearly showing the power of the people’s outcry against the original version. But, before we get into what the new order says, I would like to start by informing my audience the power of the people is still within our grasps.

The absolute backlash of the last order clearly shook A LOT of heads around the world, which included republicans skeptical of the order. On my last post about the immigration ban, I was very stern in my criticism. I stand by what I stated before: the immigration was doomed from the start by its poor execution. It was unclear, lazy in its approach, and more so, caused confusion within the Department of Homeland Security about how to execute the order.  Legal residents, green card holders and Visa holders were barred from entering the U.S., a highly illegal action made by the administration.

Let us all be clear with something. This is NOT a “travel” ban, but a ban on immigration.

There is a strict distinction between an immigrant, a traveler and a refugee and the rhetoric needs to change as a lot of these terms are thrown together interchangeably. For starters, immigrates go through a strict vetting process which can take over two years to complete. Immigrants also usually come from countries where the government is functional, but the people choose to leave by choice (most of the time). This is important, because when a country has a substantially functional government, it is easy to compile information of the people seeking immigration status as records are easier to come across. This is exactly why am I so against this “extreme vetting” that the president so eagerly wishes to adopt. The vetting process is already tedious and timely. In the post-911 era the United States government has been extremely successful in combatting foreign terrorism. We have the best security in the world, hands down. “Extreme vetting” is a paradox in itself as the current measures are already extreme in a lot of senses.

Refugees come from countries that are usually in civil war, through government reform, plagued by famine (outdated) or in a state of war. Syria is a country with a high number of refugees because the government lost control of its own land against ISIS, to keep it simplified. Since the government of Syria is barely a functional entity, what vetting process is there to execute? These people have no records, no tracking, and can pose a threat to national security. In most cases, it is hard to track and monitor refugees’ behaviors simply by the nature of the native state.

This is why I am okay with not letting in refugees into the United States. Europe is proof that these kinds of integration laws don’t work when the people are so culturally different. We don’t need that problem here in the United States. Notice how I said I was “okay” with not letting refugees in. It’s painful to see what these people have to go through, but until there is a way to apply a vetting process to these refugees, it is in the best interest of the United States to keep them out.

Immigrants, however, do go through the vetting process, and for me, if they pass the requirements, should be allowed to enter the United States. We need immigrants. This is a land of immigrant and it will forever be that way. Refugees are NOT immigrants, so people need to be a little more careful with the rhetoric.

Okay, lets get into it:

The New Order:

Interesting enough, the new executive order, which will go into effect on March 16, is more moderate in its approach. For starters, there are now six countries on the ban, all of the same from last time excluding Iraq.

Looking into the text, the Trump administration is allowing previously accepted refugees to enter the United States, but is limiting the number to 50,000. To me, that number is very high, but to a lot of people on the left, this should be calming to you. When 50,000 refugees will be allowed to enter, it’s hard to argue that the United States isn’t trying its best to meet in the middle of the issue.

The new order doesn’t give priority to religious minorities (mainly Christians), a highly controversial topic of discussion on the last order.

The new order also lifts the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees to 120 days along with the rest of the countries.

Further information will be presented as this story progresses, but until now, this is all we know.

Concluding thoughts:

The administration clearly put more thought into complying the new order together looking at a more moderate approach to the issue.

Still, it only feels the current revision is a test to what the order should have been from the start, maybe saving the administration some headache from the backlash that followed. At the end of the day, it doesn’t change what was already done, and the pain still lingers for a lot of people. But I firmly believe it goes to show that Trump cannot simply do as he pleases. This reform is proof of a more tempered approach, something I hope everyone could appreciate.

Finally, the ban is still controversial in its own right, and although I’m not fully sold on the intent considering the president has stated he wants a ban on “Muslims,” this is exponentially better than what we got in January.

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Sorry about the lack of content lately…senior year is kicking my ass. I’ll do a follow up when more information is presented.

 

-Exsar Misael

 

 

McMaster is a hopeful replacement for Flynn

 

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Michael Flynn before resignation. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo (EPA)

After Michael Flynn’s resignation, the nation eagerly waited on who Donald Trump would pick as the next National Security Advisor. And with much surprise, the new pick may be of some importance for the Trump administration. Army Lieutenant General H.R McMaster is a man whose experience in the armed forces has given him a different perspective on the “war on Islam”—rhetoric chief strategy advisor Steve Bannon so eagerly chooses to use.

For the new pick, there are two major takeaways that the American people should be aware of: McMaster’s experience and how that molds his potential world views, and his take on Russia-American relations.

Middle East:

McMaster’s experience in the Middle East during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Commander of the Army shape the way he views Islam as a whole. In 2005, in an attempt to retake the city of Tal Afar which bordered Iraq and Syria, McMaster had his troops dress in traditional Arab clothing to blend in to the environment. He also taught his soldiers how to walk into a home and determine if the residents were Sunni or Shiite Muslims. McMaster is also on record for commanding his troops not to refer to locals as “hajjis”, a racial slur used to identify Muslims who take pilgrim to Mecca, showing his respect to the people and culture.

This firsthand understanding, respect and strategy McMaster has displayed in his deployment shows the kind of mind he has: one that will not plague an entire religion for the fault of few, an issue a lot of members of Trump’s cabinet cannot seem to distinguish. Furthermore, McMaster does not have a political mind. He is military. And that experience gives this administration a head who can actually speak on behalf of terrorism from a personal level and one that isn’t convoluted by an unrealistic vision of the enemy we are fighting. McMaster understands and fundamentally believes that plaguing an entire religion on the faults of a few can actually be detrimental to foreign relations. McMaster is on record for stating that Trump’s rhetoric regarding “bombing Islam into oblivion” only fuels fire for terrorism. This rhetoric also further divides the American people from understanding the culture and religion of these people.

For the future on combatting terrorism, McMaster will act as the middle ground for a lot of key issues, socially and strategically.

Russia:

Unlike President Trump and Flynn, McMaster is a Russia skeptic, noting the country is not an ally of the United States but an adversary. Last May, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, McMaster cited Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine as evidence of a broader effort “to collapse the post-World War Two, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.” His skepticism on Russia is very outspoken, and reflective of a more “realism” world view of international relations. McMaster’s military experience probably has something to do with his cynical view of the world, and for the United States, this might be the best man for the job in an administration clouded with Russian influence.

Conclusion (opinion):

I actually like this pick by the Trump administration. McMaster is a man of integrity, respect, mutual understanding, and of course his military experience allows for a more realistic approach on how to combat Islamic terrorism (hopefully). I don’t know him personally, so although it is hard for me to speak on his personal traits, on the surface level, he seems to have a lot of credible ideas and philosophy. His respect and understanding of the culture abroad, to me, gives him a lot of credibility. More so, he knows HOW the Middle East operates—culturally and in terms of terrorism.

For Russia, I am on the boat that our Western neighbor deserves more punishment for their actions in Crimea. Naturally, my bias against Russia, which has been stated in previous posts, draws me to McMaster’s words and skepticism. I do not think Russia is an ally. Nor is the country’s involvement in our political system something that should go without notice or action in the future.

Everything I’ve read on McMaster has actually made me more relaxed about the administration’s inner-circle, as I hope he can be the voice against the ideology of President Trump and Stephen Bannon. Let us not forget how Bannon has stated that “every President needs his war.” This rhetoric is inherently dangerous considering the amount of turmoil in the international world, and I hope McMaster’s military experience will help level this thinking.

 

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McMaster and Trump. Photo: CNN

Whether McMaster becomes a puppet for Trump will come in time, but let us not forget Flynn was part of the inner-circle of decision making in the early weeks of administration. I just hope McMaster will also be part of that tight-knit group in order to help moderate some of the discussion happening inside the Oval Office.

I am hopeful, for once.

Best,

-Exsar Misael