The mainstream media has acted irresponsibly in its reporting on President Trump’s executive order on visas, unnecessarily inflaming a situation by failing to report accurately or fairly. Their actions are proving Stephen K. Bannon to be correct: they are not acting as a vigorous free press but rather they are behaving like political operatives with bylines, as members of an “opposition party.” Americans are noticing. We deserve better. We need better.
Amid all the drama, it is appropriate to focus on what got lost in the mainstream media firestorm.
Reportedly, just 109 out of 325,000 people who entered the United States on the first day (that is, 0.00034, or 0.034 percent) were held up for questioning. Of that 109, only several dozen were detained longer than a few hours. Now ask yourself why all the drama over 109 people, most of whom endured only relatively minor inconvenience and were free to go on the same day? Doesn’t that suggest this is an issue which was intentionally blown out of proportion in support of a broader political agenda?
Trump’s order relies on existing law, signed by President Obama, and targets only the seven countries previously approved by Congress (with strong Democratic support) and Obama in 2013-2016 as places where jihadist violence is strong and thus a national security concern.
The executive order is not a “Muslim ban” because there is no specific mention of Muslims in it. There are 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world. The vast majority are not covered by the order.
The executive order institutes a 90-day moratorium on entry of people from those seven countries, a 120-day suspension of refugee admissions, and an indefinite hold on Syrian refugee admissions in order to provide time to review existing policies. Since when does a new administration not have the right to review (and possibly to change) existing policies, especially when that administration ran on the explicit platform of doing so?
I have no disagreement with the negative reactions to the green card issue, although there appears to have been either confusion about what was actually required or a quick policy adjustment—as the order allows—made over the weekend. It is unfortunate that some legal residents got caught up in that bureaucratic confusion, but it appears to have been resolved for now.
Obama suspended the admission of refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011, longer than Trump’s order does. Obama also restricted entry by Cubans with no end date. The people who are upset at Trump were silent and not upset with Obama for doing the same thing to Iraqis and Cubans. Why? It also appears that the mainstream media did not adequately report the Obama suspension while they are reporting this order as a Muslim ban. Why is that acceptable? Jimmy Carter also barred Iranians from entering the United States after Ayatollah Khomeini took over.
Trump’s order caps total future refugee admissions at 50,000 a year, a rate equal to close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama’s dramatic expansion in 2016. One of my friends wrote these words while on a cruise near Australia and New Zealand: “To hear CNN International tell it, the refugees are being drawn and quartered, held without food or water, and not allowed to communicate with anyone.”
Obama admitted an average of 50 Syrians per year for the first four years after the Syrian civil war began in 2011. He boosted the number to 1,682 in 2015 and then 13,000 last year—without any visible vetting criteria in place. Given the jihadist presence in Syria, why is it unreasonable to be concerned about importing extremists if more are allowed into the United States? The European experience shows that some of the terrorist attacks were carried out by people who came in as refugees. Why should it be acceptable for the United States to accept similar risks? If people are looking at it as a humanitarian issue, why the years of silence toward Obama and now rage at Trump?
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar have refused to admit any Syrian refugees. Why? What might they know that we either don’t know or don’t appear to want to know? Why the silence from the people protesting against the executive order? How interesting that, after talking to Trump within 48 hours of signing the order, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi announced their support and funding for a new, out-of-the-box, way to respond to the Syrian and Yemeni refugee crisis, providing safe zones for these people in their home regions.
Sixteen Muslim countries (Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq—except Iraqi Kurdistan—Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan , Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) refuse to allow entry into their countries by people with Israeli passports. Eight of those countries (Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) won’t admit people —regardless of religious or national heritage—whose passports show entry into Israel. Those are far more restrictive actions than the Trump order. Why the silence from the people protesting against this new order? Such intolerance is no small part of the Muslim tradition. How will that longstanding practice reflect on their willingness to assimilate into American life?
Sharia law is incompatible with American law yet many polls show a majority of Muslims around the world favor the imposition of sharia law. Many Muslim religious and cultural norms involving monogamy, equal rights for women, converting from Islam to Christianity, tolerance for minorities and gays are also incompatible with American cultural norms. During my travels, I found out it was illegal to bring Bibles and rosaries into Saudi Arabia, as well as to hold any form of Christian worship services. Non-Muslims are not allowed in Mecca and Medina. Are Muslims coming into America willing to assimilate, to waive a desire to bring sharia law and some of their conflicting cultural norms into our country?
Do we really want to import what has already gone on in Rotherham (ask the 1,400 sexually abused children), Paris (ask the police who can’t patrol certain neighborhoods), Cologne (ask the women who were assaulted in public places), and Stockholm (ask about the violence)? Why is it politically incorrect to talk about these actual events, which have adversely affected real people’s lives in numerous countries? Why does the Left either excuse or ignore such behaviors? Are you willing to live with these kinds of behavior in your neighborhood?
Trump’s executive order is a necessary first step toward addressing the fundamental question: How to differentiate between Muslim immigrants who share our values and want to escape the horrors of their country versus those who wish to bring their culture with them?
It is in our nation’s self-interest to develop an effective way to distinguish between those two groups. Responsible people care about developing a thoughtful response. We could use more such people in the public square.