The Claim: In Response to President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants fleeing certain Middle East countries from coming to the United States, the media branded the order as anti-Islamic and xenophobic. Former CIA official Phil Mudd stated on CNN that the ban was “ass-backwards.” (Occurred May 25, 2017)
Seven countries had refugees banned from coming to the United States. These countries were Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia. The purpose of the ban was to ensure national security. The fear was that the mass immigration from these countries to the U.S. would include a significant number of terrorists.
The accusations began because of a mistake President Trump made. Following the Orlando and San Bernardino shooting, candidate Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Here is the problem with what Donald Trump stated: you can’t ban people from entering this country solely because of their religion. That’s not what America is about. It’s understandable to halt the acceptance of refugees from a certain country, or be skeptical of a group of people who are showing a refusal to assimilate to western society, but you cannot bar an entire religion’s people from America.
But was the travel ban policy itself xenophobic? The executive order itself was actually guided by policy from the Barack Obama administration. The seven countries listed were already picked by Obama’s policies; the countries were not picked by Donald Trump for being “Muslim” countries. The order was a temporary suspension of refugees with a nationality of those seven listed countries. This is not actually a ban, but rather a moratorium. The idea was to create time to set up a thorough vetting system before letting large numbers of refugees into the country.
There is a loophole in the order: if our intelligence agencies vet an individual and find them to be of good merit, they can waive the order for that individual case. There is also a priority given to those fleeing religious persecution when their religion is a minority religion of their country. Essentially nothing about the executive order itself was too controversial. In fact, it didn’t go far enough because it ignored several other countries that should have been included.
While President Trump called for a “Muslim ban,” nothing about the travel restrictions imposed could be characterized as such.