Donald Trump sure has stirred the pot since taking office.
In his latest controversial move, the president issued an executive order placing a three-month moratorium on immigration to the United States from seven nations: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The president said he wants to aggressively examine all immigration policies to take steps to keep the United States safe from the possibility of terrorists entering the nation.
He has since fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructed the Justice Department not to enforce the president’s directive.
These seven nations, presumably, were chosen because of chaotic conditions there that often lead to terrorist ties among the populace; or because of known ties between those countries’ governments and terrorist groups.
As predictable as cold weather in January, the knee-jerk criticisms surfaced. Trump’s out of control, Trump’s unfairly picking on small nations where he has no business interests; Trump’s grandstanding, because no terrorists from those nations have committed any acts against Americans; etc., etc., etc.
While becoming a lost art, it’s important to check on basic facts before responding to governmental actions, and a few basic checks will show these seven nations are, in fact, a potential danger to the United States.
There have been multiple cases of attempted mass killings in the United States by individuals from these nations.
According to the website PolitiFact.com, which researches political claims for their accuracy, there have been at least three mass attacks in America by individuals with ties to those nations over the past decade, two in the past five months.
“One of those examples includes the November 2016 attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who had lived in Pakistan before coming to the United States,” PolitiFact.com reported. “Abdul Razak Ali Artan, 18, was shot dead by a police officer after he slammed his car into pedestrians and injured others with a butcher knife. The FBI said it would investigate the attack as a ‘potential act of terrorism.’”
In September 2016, Dahir Adan was shot dead after stabbing nine people in a Minnesota shopping mall. Adan was identified by his father as Somali but born in Kenya, moving to the United States when he was a child.
“Another incident was in 2006, when Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar ran a Jeep Cherokee into a crowd of people at his Alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Thinking he would be killed during the attack, Taheri-Azar left a letter in his apartment saying he wanted revenge for the deaths of Muslims across the world caused by the United States, the AP reported.”
Those three attacks are the ones that made headlines, but they are far from the only violent or dangerous activity by immigrants.
According to the report Muslim-American Involvements 2016, compiled by Charles Kurzman, Department of Sociology at UNC, 46 “Muslim-Americans” were associated with violent extremism in 2016.
A full 20 percent of these individuals had family backgrounds from the seven countries under the temporary travel moratorium.
Basic research shows those protesting Trump’s move on the grounds that those nations pose no danger to the United States are, quite frankly, speaking from a position of ignorance.
The president’s actions also does not institute a ban, but a short-term moratorium, until a thorough review can be made on how immigrants from those nations are vetted before being allowed entry into the United States.
All in all, we have a hard time finding any significant issue with Trump’s order. We do wonder about how it might affect thawing relations between the United States and Iraq — Trump has often shown he doesn’t understand the subtleties of foreign relations, and it might have been better to have worked with Iraq in a more flexible manner.
We would like for it to have included a few more countries with known and demonstrated terrorist ties. Among those would have been Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan.
All in all, though, it’s hard to be overly critical of Trump’s immigration record thus far, especially when you keep this in mind: America is under no legal obligation to allow entry to any immigrants.
We wouldn’t want to see and all-out ban. Immigration and the melting pot the United States has become is key to its strength as a great nation. America wouldn’t be near what it is today without a robust immigrant presence, and the nation is still the shining example of greatness to many people around the world.
But immigration policy should always be made with America’s best interest in mind. If that means opening the borders for a flood of newcomers, then so be it. But if it means closing the borders, or at least selectively determining where immigrants may come from, then that’s just fine as well.