The executive action President Donald Trump has signed to limit immigration of refugees from a group of majority-Muslim countries was condemned by national security experts and media figures when he initially floated them. Those experts have noted that Trump’s plans are unconstitutional and antithetical to American values and that they would cost the U.S. billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
Trump Signs Executive Order Restricting Immigration From Middle Eastern And African Countries
During The Election, Trump Proposed Blocking Muslim, Other Immigration
Trump: Muslims Should Be Banned From Coming Into The United States “Until Our Country's Representatives Can Figure Out What's Going On.” On December 7, 2015, Trump published a press release “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” Trump's statement claimed that “there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population,” and that “until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life”:
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.
Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” [DonaldJTrump.com, 12/7/15]
AP: Trump Calls For “Extreme Vetting” Of Immigrants. Trump in an August 15 speech called for “extreme vetting” and a temporary halt of immigrants into the United States from “regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism,” according to the Associated Press. Trump’s aides said federal agencies would be using questionnaires that would vet applicants based on their “stances on issues including religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights.” From the August 16 article:
Donald Trump is calling for “extreme” vetting of immigrants seeking admission to the United States, but he's offering few specifics about how that might work, how long it might last or how taxpayers would foot the bill.
Trump, who had previously called for an unprecedented temporary ban on immigration by Muslims, vowed Monday to overhaul the country's screening process and block those who sympathize with extremist groups or don't embrace American values.
“Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into our country,” Trump said in a foreign policy address in Youngstown, Ohio. “Only those who we expect to flourish in our country - and to embrace a tolerant American society - should be issued visas.”
The candidate's aides said federal agencies would use questionnaires, social media, interviews with family and friends or other means to vet applicants' stances on issues including religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights. Trump did not clarify how U.S. officials would assess the veracity of responses to the questionnaires or how much manpower it would require to complete such arduous vetting.
He did say that implementing the policy overhaul would require a temporary halt in immigration from “the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.” [Associated Press, 8/16/16]
Trump Formally Signs Executive Order Barring Refugees From A Group Of Muslim- Majority Countries
Trump Signs Executive Order Restricting Refugees From Muslim-Majority Countries. According to CNN, President Trump has signed an executive order that will limit “the flow of refugees into the United States by instituting what the President has called ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants.” Drafts obtained by CNN state that “the order bars all persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen from entering the United States for 30 days and suspend the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated ‘only for nationals of countries for whom’ members of Trump's Cabinet deem can be properly vetted.” Trump himself made clear “that he is prioritizing Christians over Muslims” in determining who can still come into the country. [CNN.com, 1/27/17]
Right-Wing Media Figures Laud Trump’s Immigration Restrictions
Eric Bolling: “This Is Fantastic. There Are Some Really Logical Things In Here.” Fox host Eric Bolling praised Trump’s immigration executive order, saying, “This is fantastic. There are some really logical things in here that I didn't even know they were going to do.” Bolling praised the provision signed by Trump that states, “if you are applying to come to the United States under the visa program, you have to declare that you support to the U.S. Constitution over religious edicts.” Bolling also praised Trump for suspending the so-called “visa interview waiver program.”
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): I'm reading through this executive order on the refugee program and some of the visa programs. This is fantastic. There are some really logical things in here that I didn't even know they were going to do. One of them, and a lot of people on the right have been calling for this for a long time, it seems trivial, it seems basic, but I think is important: That if you are applying to come to the United States under the visa program, you have to declare that you support to the U.S. Constitution over religious edicts, U.S. law over other forms of law, important. Also, it spends -- people coming from terror-designated countries, we knew about that one. But here is one that was kind of interesting to me. I didn't know we had this. There is a way to get a visa without an interview, so it's called a visa interview waiver program. You can actually waive a person to person interview and get your visa. Well he's suspending that for now.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Makes sense.
BOLLING: You want a visa, you better show up at a consulate, get in front of someone who is going to at least vet you through his or her eyes. That's fantastic. [Fox News, The Five, 1/27/17]
Frequent Fox Guest Zuhdi Jasser: Trump’s Executive Order Is A “Rational Approach … So That We Can Come Back To Security First.” Frequent Fox guest Zuhdi Jasser praised Trump’s “rational approach” to pausing “immigration from countries that are havens for jihadists,” saying that “pausing it so that we can come back to security first and second getting back to America's roots which are welcoming all those immigrants that want to be free.”
NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): What would [the executive order] do?
ZUHDI JASSER: Well Neil, that's a great question, “what does it mean?” I think we're hearing so much about what it doesn't mean. And a lot of exaggeration. The bottom line is that he's following through on promises during the campaign, rational approach, to stop and pause -- not to ban Muslims -- it's the pause of immigration from countries that are havens for jihadists, which are ideologues that hate the West, that could threaten us. And we start vetting against the ideology of Islamism, the jihadism if you will, from Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, et cetera. Now the pause he called for is 120 days. And we might even need 180 days. But at that point, we begin to vet against the ideas of those who believe in a Sharia state, Islamic State. The only criticism I'd have is, I don't understand why Syria was sort of indefinite, but the others were paused. The messaging is so important here Neil. We need to message that it's not just stopping immigration, it's actually pausing it so that we can come back to security first and second getting back to America's roots which are welcoming all those immigrants that want to be free. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 1/27/17]
Sean Hannity: “It’s A Vetting Of People Who Come From Countries That Have Radical Islamists.” On the January 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show, host Sean Hannity defended Trump’s immigration restrictions, stating “don’t mischaracterize it,” asking critics “Why are you willing to gamble with American lives?” Hannity continued, asking “how do we know if they come from a country that practices Sharia, they don't want to bring those values with them, and oppress women, gays, lesbians, Christians, and Jews?”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): It's not a -- it's not a -- it's not a Muslim ban, it's a -- it's a --
JESSICA TARLOV: It's a ban of --
HANNITY: It's a vetting --
TARLOV: People from Muslim countries
HANNITY: It's a vetting of people that come from countries that have radical Islamists, to protect the people of this country. Don't mischaracterize it.
Excuse me, and where do we end up training these radicals? Where do we know the training camps are? Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. That's where most of the training of these radicals goes on.
The bottom line is we -- are you willing to risk American lives, and letting in refugees from countries that we know there is high terrorist activity? Why are you willing to gamble with American lives?
TARLOV: It is part of the American tradition that we take people --
HANNITY: To gamble with lives? Really?
TARLOV: That we take refugees in this country, from war-torn countries.
HANNITY: And how do we know -- how do we know if they come from a country that practices Sharia, they don't want to bring those values with them, and oppress women, gays, lesbians, Christians and Jews? How do we know the difference?
TARLOV: There is absolutely a small --
HANNITY: There is no way, Ron Christie, is there, to determine that. No way at all. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 1/26/17]
Fox Hosts Attack CAIR, Defend Trump’s Immigration Ban. On the January 26 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Bob Beckel attacked the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for criticizing Trump’s unconstitutional immigration ban, claiming “CAIR only has press conferences when they want to attack us on something like this.” Co-host Dana Perino claimed Trump’s ban proves the Trump administration “can be vigilant and compassionate at the same time,” and co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle agreed, claiming Trump “is really speaking on message,” adding “there’s a lot of good facts to support his theory”:
GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): Eric, you know what bugs me about this? They call this --
ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): Everything?
GUTFELD: Yes, everything. They call all these proposals islamophobic, so if you target the -- target the islamic radicalism, they say you are hurting all Muslims, so they are conflating terrorists with the average Muslim.
BOLLING: Yeah, and constitutionally, you really can't go after Muslims, you can go after countries -- countries of origin which just so happen to be predominately Muslim countries, that's what you have to do. But again, CAIR, we are waiting, you know the moderate Muslims that are against all this need to be a lot more vocal. And just defending islamophobia or calling out islamophobia shouldn't be the only thing that CAIR should be doing. They should be encouraging moderate Muslims to turn over information on plots, on terror, on cells.
BOB BECKEL (CO-HOST): Isn't it amazing that CAIR only has press conferences when they want to attack us on something like this? And when there's a terrorist attack, they don't say anything.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): No, I know, but what are they? They're completely ineffective.
BECKEL: Well, they're mostly cowards.
GUILFOYLE: They're not helping in the least, it's a disaster
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): I think 120 days for them to get themselves comfortable with the program that is in place for vetting is reasonable, that we can be vigilant and compassionate of the same time.
GUILFOYLE: Yeah, I mean look, I think that he is really speaking on message and talking about what he believes the world is like today, and I think there's a lot of good facts to support his theory. [Fox News, The Five, 1/26/17]
Frequent Fox Guest Bernard Goldberg: “I Don’t Know How Many Muslims” Are “Actually Going To Be Upset,” But “Too Bad.” On the January 26 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly asked frequent Fox guest Bernard Goldberg to “assess” Trump’s “extreme vetting” of Muslims. Goldberg responded, “I don't know how many Muslims in this country or around the world are actually going to be upset … But to the extent that some will be upset, too bad”:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): So that answer that President Trump just gave was in response to Mr. Muir saying that if we have extreme vetting, which I think we are going to have tomorrow, of Muslims, the Islamic world is going to get more mad at us. So, assess it.
BERNARD GOLDBERG: Right, well let me deal with that first. I don't know how many Muslims in this country or around the world are actually going to be upset that we are trying to keep Islamic terrorists out of the country, but to the extent that some will be upset, too bad. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 1/26/17]
Experts And Media Figures Have Noted That A Thinly Disguised Muslim Ban Based On Specific Countries Would Be Unconstitutional
ACLU: “Any Attempt To Disguise The ‘Muslim Ban’” As Based On Nationality Rather Than Religion “Would Fail” A Constitutionality Test. The ACLU wrote in a memo that although “Trump has recently sought to muddy the waters by proposing bans based upon nationality instead of religion,” “intent to discriminate on the basis of religion, even hidden behind pretextual religious neutrality, violates the Establishment Clause and Equal Protection.” The ACLU memo further explained, “To the extent that Trump’s proposed ban has shifted from an explicit religion-based ban to a pretextual country-based ban, it remains unmistakably clear from the history of this proposal and the continuing focus on Muslims in public statements from the Trump campaign that the target continues to be adherents of a particular faith. The Constitution does not tolerate such discrimination.” [American Civil Liberties Union, accessed 1/24/17]
Cato Institute: “Trump’s Ban On Immigration From Certain Countries Is Illegal.” The conservative-leaning Cato Institute’s David Bier wrote, “It is illegal to discriminate against immigrants based on their national origin. ...“President Trump will almost certainly run into legal difficulties if he attempts to carry out his promise.” Bier noted that Section 202(a)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits Trump from excluding most immigrants based on “nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” Bier also explained that the “legislative history” of the act and “court precedent” both back “a ban on national origin discrimination,” and “past presidential actions do not support the legality of Trump’s policy.” [Cato Institute, 12/8/16]
Experts Slammed Idea Of Banning Immigration From Countries With A Record Of Terrorism, Citing Harm To Economy, Foreign Policy, U.S. Travelers, And More
Third Way: Trump’s Ban On Visitors “From Terrorism-Affected Countries” Would Cost The U.S. Billions In GDP And Thousands Of Jobs. Third Way’s David Brown and Jordan Baum wrote that a “ban on visitors … from terrorism-affected countries … would decrease U.S. GDP by $30.5 billion and cost the domestic economy 182,000 jobs in year one. GDP and job losses would then increase significantly each year the ban remains.” Brown and Baum also wrote that the “greatest harm” of such a ban “is to the American ideal,” noting as well as that such a ban “would undermine U.S. foreign policy goals.” [Third Way, 8/24/16]
Bipartisan Policy Center: Country-Specific Immigration Bans “Could Cause Reciprocal Bans Against US Citizens And Commerce.” A Bipartisan Policy Center report explained that “banning entry of Muslims or others from regions of the world that have experienced terrorism (including Europe) could cause reciprocal bans against US citizens and commerce, further eroding relationships and alliances that are needed to work against terrorist and criminal organizations.” The report also noted that “such actions feed into the rhetoric of extremists that the United States is at war with Islam, further undermining the work of security agencies.” [Bipartisan Policy Center, October 2016]
NY Times: Trump’s Proposed Ban Would Harshly Impact Businesspeople, Students, Tourists, And Foreign Spouses Of American Citizens. The New York Times’s Julia Preston wrote when Trump proposed a version of his ban during the campaign that not only would “identifying areas to include in a ban and persuading Washington to accept that definition” be difficult, but also, “Once a ban is in place, its impact would be harsh for countries on the list” whose “businesspeople could not come for meetings, students could not attend American universities, and tourists could not come to see the sights. Foreign spouses of American citizens could not come to live with their families.” Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell, told Preston, “I can see severe adverse political fallout. Countries could retaliate by limiting travel by U.S. citizens, and it would certainly harm our standing in terms of international initiatives negotiating trade deals and stopping wars.” [The New York Times, 6/18/16]
CNN International Correspondent: Ban Based On Countries With Record Of Terrorism Is Nonsensical Because Muslims In Those Countries Are The Ones Fighting ISIS. CNN international correspondent Clarissa Ward said in August that Trump’s proposal to ban immigration based on countries with a record of terrorism “feeds into this divisive anti-Islamic rhetoric,” which is harmful since “it is Muslims that the U.S. is relying upon to fight these important battles.” Ward also said that “the people fighting on the ground are Syrians and Libyans. So how do they feel when they hear this kind of Islamophobic rhetoric coming from the White House, being told that they can't even apply for a visa to visit the U.S., while meanwhile, they're the ones out there the on the battlefield shedding blood and dying to fight against ISIS?” [CNN, At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan, 8/15/16]
Experts And Media Figures Condemned Trump’s Original Muslim Ban Proposal
AP: “Legal Experts” Call Trump’s Proposed Muslim Ban ”Unconstitutional" And “Impossible To Carry Out.” The Associated Press reported that legal experts say the proposed ban is “not only unconstitutional, but also impossible to carry out.” The AP quoted one law professor saying Trump’s proposal constitutes “an attack on the very foundation of the United States” and it paraphrased another as saying the ban ”’amounts to a religious test for anyone wanting to enter the country," which would be “unprecedented in U.S. history.” [The Associated Press, 12/8/15]
Wash. Post: “Experts: Trump's Muslim Entry Ban Idea 'Ridiculous,' 'Unconstitutional.'” In a December 7, 2015, article in The Washington Post, constitutional experts lambasted Trump's proposal. One expert said, “This would not only violate international law, but do so by embracing open discrimination against one religion. It would make the United States a virtual pariah among nations.” [The Washington Post, 12/7/15]
NBC News' Richard Engel: Trump's Policy “Just Feeds Into The ISIS Narrative” And Presents “A National Security Issue.” NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel slammed Trump's proposal to ban foreign Muslims from the United States, saying it “feeds into the ISIS narrative,” and would cause “a national security issue." Engel, who was speaking on the December 7, 2015, edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, explained that ISIS claims “the world is against Muslims and we, ISIS, are defending Muslims. So here comes Mr. Trump and says ISIS is right.” [MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, 12/7/15]
Slate's Josh Voorhees: Trump’s “Xenophobic Plan” Is “As Disgusting As It Almost Certainly Is Unconstitutional.” In a December 7, 2015, piece in Slate titled “Donald Trump's No-Muslims-Allowed Policy Is Disgusting -- But Hardly Surprising,” Josh Vorhees wrote, “The shock over Trump's proposal is certainly warranted,” considering that “the Republican Party's long-time polling front-runner [is] putting forth a clearly xenophobic plan that is as disgusting as it almost certainly is unconstitutional.” [Slate, 12/7/15]
NY Times: Trump’s Proposal Is “An Idea More Typically Associated With Hate Groups.” The New York Times’ Patrick Healy and Michael Barbaro called Trump’s proposal “an extraordinary escalation of rhetoric aimed at voters’ fears” and quoted immigration and legal experts who called Trump's proposal “antithetical to the history of the United States” and predicted it would be struck down by the Supreme Court as, the Times paraphrased, “an overly restrictive immigration policy under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.” [The New York Times, 12/7/15]
NY Times' Frank Bruni: Trump “Has Given The Islamic State ... A Piece Of Propaganda As Big As Any Of His Resorts.” In a December 8, 2015, op-ed, New York Times opinion columnist Frank Bruni stated that Trump “has practically collaborated with the enemy by playing into a narrative of Muslim persecution.” [The New York Times, 12/8/15]
NY Times' Thomas Friedman: “By Alienating The Muslim World,” Trump “Is Acting As The Islamic State's Secret Agent.” In a December 9, 2015, op-ed, New York Times opinion columnist Thomas Friedman stated that Trump's anti-Muslim proposals alienate Muslims and feed into ISIS' recruiting process, and added, “Lumping all Muslims together as our enemies will only make” defeating ISIS “harder.” [The New York Times, 12/9/15]
American Prospect's Robert Kuttner: “Every Time Trump Disparages Muslims Who Are Not Radicals, He Increases The Chances That Some Will Turn Into Radicals.” In a December 8, 2015, article, American Prospect co-founder and co-editor Robert Kuttner called out Trump for disparaging Muslims, writing that his “collected speeches are like an ISIS recruiting video.” [The American Prospect, 12/8/15]
ThinkProgress: Trump's “Rhetoric Bolsters The Message Of Extremist Groups Like ISIS.” In a December 8, 2015, article, ThinkProgress' Justin Salhani explained that “experts say [Trump's] rhetoric bolsters the message of extremist groups like ISIS.” Salhani wrote that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and policy proposals help ISIS gain “support by convincing vulnerable youths prone to ideological radicalization that the west has an aversion to Islam.” [ThinkProgress, 12/8/15]
NBC News: “Donald Trump's Call For Closing America's Door To Muslims Is Opening A Window Of Opportunity For Groups Like ISIS.” In a December 8, 2015, article, NBC News' F. Brinley Bruton and Corky Siemaszko wrote that experts have observed that Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States “is being used by the head-chopping fanatics and other terrorists groups like al Qaeda to attract recruits by painting the land of the free as opposed to Islam.” [NBCNews.com, 12/8/15]
MSNBC Analyst And Counterterrorism Expert: “We Are Standing By Right Now To See An ISIS Video Come Up With Donald Trump Saying His Rhetoric.” On the December 8, 2015, edition of MSNBC's MTP Daily, MSNBC analyst and counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance explained to host Chuck Todd that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric is helping ISIS and jeopardizing U.S. intelligence missions. [MSNBC, MTP Daily, 12/8/15]