- The American Conservative - http://www.theamericanconservative.com -

The Revised Travel Ban Is Still Absurd and Unnecessary

The new version of the Trump administration’s travel ban won’t include Iraq [1], which further undermines the argument for having the ban at all:

“Taking Iraq off does harm the case for the travel ban,” said Jonathan Meyer, who was deputy general counsel at DHS in the Obama administration. “It hurts the argument that these countries are being selected based on objective analysis of the danger their citizens pose.” If Iraq is being taken off the list for diplomatic reasons, the decision “adds to the mounting evidence that this order is not based on risk-based policy-making.”

The threat that the ban is supposedly addressing has been grossly exaggerated and in some cases simply made up, so the ban was never going to be based on a realistic assessment of risk. The case for barring entry to all nationals from these countries on security grounds has always been exceptionally weak, and removing Iraq from the list makes it even weaker. Taking Iraq off the list while keeping Iran on it just confirms the ban’s arbitrariness and unfairness, and it shows how unrelated it is to protecting the U.S. from terrorism.

The problem for the administration is that there is no way to “revise” the order to the point where it will be defensible or reasonable as a policy. They may be able to rewrite it so that it won’t be blocked by a court, but the underlying policy will be just as absurd and harmful as before. The ban on nationals from these countries was and is unnecessary and driven by the most mindless threat inflation, and the only way to “fix” the original order is to give up on the idea all together.

The new order will reportedly exempt existing visa holders and permanent residents, but it still imposes an unnecessary burden on people from the other six countries that might apply for visas in the future. The ban makes no sense overall, but in the case of Iran it is especially ridiculous. Unless they already have visas, Iranian relatives of American citizens would be blocked from traveling to visit their family, and they would be barred solely because of their nationality. Iranian dissidents and political activists would be kept out because of the actions of a regime that they oppose. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. That has nothing to do with making America more secure. It simply punishes Iranian civilians because of their government’s actions elsewhere. In the cases of many of the other countries included on the list, it is penalizing citizens of those countries because of the instability and upheaval that U.S. policies have directly or indirectly caused.

8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "The Revised Travel Ban Is Still Absurd and Unnecessary"

#1 Comment By peanut On March 2, 2017 @ 8:33 am

My favorite bit about this is the reporting they will delay the launch of the order because they wanted Trump to enjoy another day of basking in glow of post SOTU praise… Urgent and necessary for national security, indeed!

And seriously: any policy that bans Iranians but lets, say, Russians and Frenchmen in (both countries have 3 or 4 figure numbers of citizens fighting for Daesh), simply has nothing to do with national security.

#2 Comment By scottinnj On March 2, 2017 @ 9:25 am

It’s not just the 7 countries – tourism is one of our largest exports in the USA – and even if you are not on that list, why take the chance or deal with the hassles? Already a number of trade groups are warning that bookings of hotels/airlines are down. To be fair part of this also relates to the very strong US$ at this time (expensive for Europeans to come to the US) but looking at this why would you plan a trip here?

#3 Comment By Argon On March 2, 2017 @ 10:47 am

peanut: “Urgent and necessary for national security, indeed!”

It certainly was urgent. That’s why Trump used Twitter to directly inform the public when he tweeted these statements a few weeks ago:

**Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision**

**Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!**

Clearly anyone who contributes any delay on travel bans is to blame! (Disclaimers: Except for those responsible for formulating the travel ban. Delays for Presidential addresses also included. And delays for better photo ops.)

#4 Comment By CharleyCarp On March 2, 2017 @ 10:59 am

Even without the new travel ban, we’re being protected from such menacing people as that Tibetan women’s soccer team. The President need a new photo op so badly?

#5 Comment By Tim D. On March 2, 2017 @ 11:34 am

Trump’s voting base, on the other hand, eats this up. That’s all that matters to him. Everything else is simply “the enemy”.

#6 Comment By Russ B On March 2, 2017 @ 2:18 pm

The fiasco of the first attempt was done just so DJT could have a photo op and claim he was seriously protecting us. He wasn’t. Creating fake dangers (or greatly exaggerating them) and then claiming to protect people, is one of the oldest political tricks in the book.

By all means, review the current vetting process and improve it, if needed, but the ban method (no matter how he might rewrite it) does more harm than good. I know non-Muslim Green card holders from completely different countries who are now afraid of travelling outside of the US or inviting foreign relatives to visit.

#7 Comment By peanut On March 2, 2017 @ 2:35 pm

“By all means, review the current vetting process and improve it, if needed, but the ban method (no matter how he might rewrite it) does more harm than good. I know non-Muslim Green card holders from completely different countries who are now afraid of travelling outside of the US or inviting foreign relatives to visit.

The irony of this is that by shaking people’s confidence in the green card, Trump and Bannon will probably trigger a wave of naturalization.. Not many people are willing to fork 700 dollars and gather mounds of paperwork for the benefit of voting and jury duty. But if the green card becomes something that authorities can revoke at will…

#8 Comment By Ken Hoop On March 2, 2017 @ 5:29 pm

I’m not in favor of the altered ban per se, but the fact is, it does benefit Iran somewhat, since the Iraqi government is rather pro-Iranian.