Trump Stops Admission of All Refugees For 120 Days, Stops From Syria Indefinitely, Gives Priority to Christians (??!)
Holy crap, the mind reels:
President Trump on Friday closed the nation’s borders to refugees from around the world, ordering that families fleeing the slaughter in Syria be indefinitely blocked from entering the United States, and temporarily suspending immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
In an executive order that he said was part of an extreme vetting plan to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists,” Mr. Trump also established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations: He ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.Because of my own particular kind of screwiness, I've got to start off by saying: I don't want to be a part of knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberal wailing about this. Islam has a violence/terrorism problem, Muslim immigrants in Europe have often failed to assimilate (though that has been much less of a problem here--perhaps no problem to speak of, for all I know), and there are reasonable grounds for subjecting Muslim immigrants from certain countries to more severe scrutiny. I don't like it, and I'm not sure it's the right course of action, but it isn't inherently bigoted, obviously evil, nor undeniably irrational. It is, so far as I can tell, warranted (at least in the sense of made permissible by) the available evidence. Or: the evidence available to an average person like me, and after a fair amount of honest thinking about the matter.
Whether it's legal, I haven't the foggiest idea.
Needless to say, some of the usual suspects, including the (formerly-extremely-admirable) ACLU, contend that this can only be anti-Muslim bigotry. Because, y'know, Zoroastrians are out there blowing people up at the exact same rate as Muslims. Also Rastafarians.
Isn't this roughly the situation we face?: Islam apparently has certain problems, and these problems are worse in certain countries. Conservatives tend to look at this situation and urge caution with respect to certain policies. Liberals/progressives tend to argue that the problems are largely illusory, and they only seem salient because of bigotry, so no special caution is required. Conservatives think that liberals are stupid for believing what they believe about this (though I think the better criticism would be: they allow a theory to blind them to evidence), and, of course, liberals think that conservatives are evil for believing what they believe about this.
I have some inclination to see both sides, and to think that the facts leave open a fairly wide range of options, including both the preferred liberal and preferred conservative courses of action...
Buuuut...what the hell is this business about giving priority to Christians???? That seems to give fairly clear confirmation (though, of course, not conclusive proof...which is the wrong standard, though) to the left's bigotry hypothesis. Are there any grounds for this kind of preference? Some general principle about prioritizing in-danger minorities? And do Syrian Christians meet the relevant criteria? I'm way damn skeptical. This seems to me to be the aspect of the thing that makes the left's bigotry hypothesis--and God do those people only know one tune?--plausible in this case.
So, though the facts seem to make extra scrutiny of certain groups of Muslims reasonable, therefore not necessarily bigoted...as is so often the case, there is also reason to believe that bigotry may, in fact, be part of the picture.
My own inclination is to err on the side of helping refugees. This is part of the reason I'm concerned about massive illegal immigration. We're already overpopulated (despite what some argue), and we are simply not going to address the birth rate. So, in my view, we have to watch how many people we let into the country. The more illegal immigrants we allow to pour in, the more we have to think about throttling back on refugees and other legal immigrants.
Anyway. We already apparently have a fairly extensive "vetting" mechanism in place. And I think we have an imperfect duty to accept refugees from violence and oppression. And it's not as if the Syrians have not suffered enough. I'm not especially well-informed about all this, but I'm just not in favor of this executive order. I think an action like Trump's must carry a fairly heavy burden of proof to be justified, and I just don't see it. OTOH, I really don't have much reason to think that our current system is adequate, I guess...
Also OTOH, a lot of Americans are justifiably concerned about accepting these refugees. 120 days may be a small price to pay in order to give those fears due weight. Not that I think a Trump administration can be trusted to be rational...but if we could come out on the other side of this with good evidence that there's a reliable vetting process in place, and the justified fears of conservatives could be assuaged...that might very well be worth the price.
But...this reminds me of me trying to be reasonable during the lead-up to Gulf War Episode II: The Phantom Menace... Well, maybe this, and if you look at it that way then maybe they're not as unreasonable as they seem, and perhaps.... And we see how all that turned out.
I'm not necessarily against the U.S. saying: look, we have to treat this special case as a special case. We're going to look at it for four months, but as soon as possible we're going to get back to trying to help out people who deserve our help. But I don't have much confidence that that's what's going to happen. And tacking that damn thing about Christians on to all of this...at the very best, it looks very bad.