President Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” temporary bans the refugees and the visitors from seven countries due to concerns about deteriorating conditions. The ban includes the suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days though it does make exceptions for applicants from minority religions in their native countries. The President also expects a detailed report from the Secretary of Homeland Security within 30 days. The executive order also calls upon the relevant authorities to further improve the vetting process to prevent the entry of individuals seeking to harm the American interests. The executive order claims the U.S. will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in the fiscal year 2017. The U.S. Secretary of State has been directed to issue non-immigrant visas to foreign nationals on the basis of their respective governments’ treatment of American nationals. The executive order requires the data on terrorism activities and other crimes by the foreign nationals to be published for general public consumption on a regular basis. These crimes may include radicalization, violence against women, and honor killings .

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The executive order makes an exception for non-Muslim refugees. This is unconstitutional because the executive order makes distinction among the refugees on the basis of religious affiliation and religious tests violate the spirit of the U.S. Constitution. The order calls for an improvement in the vetting process. This might have made sense if the vetting process in the U.S. was not already extreme and if any past incidents had exposed the inadequacy of the current vetting measures. The executive order calls for limiting the number of refugees in the current year to 50,000. This is a disappointing figure not only due to the strong immigration tradition of the country but also due to the proportionally large number of refugees that have been taken by some European countries, especially, Germany. Moreover, the U.S. also has a moral and ethical obligation to take in more refugees because its foreign policy and military interventions have, directly or indirectly, led to the refugee crisis in many countries on the ban list including Syria and Iraq. The executive order also includes unnecessary components that will only harm America’s image in the world. The U.S already collects local data on terrorism and other crimes and much of this data is publicly accessible. By specifically focusing on the foreign nationals, Trump Administration comes across as anti-immigrant. It may send unintentional messages such as the terrorist act by a foreign national being somehow more despicable than the terrorist act by a local resident.

The executive order by President Trump is not only poorly designed but has also been shaped by inaccurate beliefs. The executive order bans refugees from seven countries while making exceptions for religious minorities. It calls upon the need to improve the vetting process even though the U.S. vetting process is already quite thorough and effective. The executive order also has anti-immigrant elements that will only harm America’s political and social goodwill in the world. It adopts confrontational attitude even in the issuance of nonimmigrant visas. The executive order will not weaken by enhance the security threats to Americans. It will alienate the foreign nationals within the U.S. as well as Muslims outside the U.S whose support America needs to achieve its foreign policy objectives. The ban will only embolden the extremists elements within Islam who have long claimed America is hostile towards Muslims. Last but not least, it is unconstitutional as well as disrespectful towards America’s long tradition of embracing the immigrants and the refugees.

  • The New York Times. Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. 27 January 2017. 3 February 2017 .