President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations: Is it a signature act of fulfilled promise or the end of civilization as Americans know it? Before deciding we ought to actually read the order (I have) and place it in its context. A little honesty would be a helpful starting point.
The order says nothing about singling out one religion or another, detaining legal residents at airports or denying entry to green card holders and dual citizens — all of whom are lawfully entitled to enter the country. There was overkill on the part of some consular and immigration agents — inevitable in the first chaotic days of a policy sea change — all now acknowledged and corrected.
It stresses that nothing in its contents should be construed to alter, override or ignore existing law. That is its content within the context of multiple terror attacks by both legal and illegal immigrants; the new president seeks to address this bloody context.
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It says nothing about preferring Christians for refugee resettlement, although it does say refugees will be prioritized depending on their risk status. It is well documented that Christians in these nations are at higher risk and with fewer alternatives for resettlement than their Muslim neighbors; acknowledging the facts does not constitute favoring one religion over another.
In the honesty department, the record shows mainstream media continuing to report all those people now being admitted — as both law and the order expect — are still being denied entry; such reports are completely false. The record currently shows reports of an angry president hanging up the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are fake news; both Trump and Turnbull have said so. That same record shows Barack Obama declared a similar travel ban in 2011. There was no public outcry — especially from the film community — when it was their anointed one doing the banning-for-national-security-purposes.
Speaking of the film community — I believe as strongly as anyone in the First Amendment; I cheerlead for film stars speaking their mind, whether or not they speak as I would. However, I am a bit weary of the hypocrisy of these same film stars surrounding themselves with their friends and then applauding themselves for their courage in speaking out when no reaction is anticipated other than that applause. Let these fearless ones welcome to the platform someone from their midst who follows a different drummer — a conservative or even a Christian drummer — and there will be reason for applause. There are such in their community, but they are rarely given a voice at awards events.
Still in the honesty department, let me say I can find no historical precedent for an outgoing president working to systematically derail an incoming leader — I refer to last-minute rules to hamstring Mr. Trump’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood and dig out from under Obamacare; I refer as well to December’s attack on Israeli sovereignty in the United Nations. It is an equally unprecedented spectacle when a one-week-out-of-office former president verbally attacks the new guy; no former president has ever shown such a lack of class. Yes, Barack Obama has the same First Amendment rights as Meryl Streep and David Harbour, but persons of integrity stay silent — at least temporarily — from his position.
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Let’s get real: Ronald Reagan tried and failed to fix a sick immigration system thanks to the dishonesty of the progressives owning the Congress at that time, led by Rep. Thomas “Tip” O’Neill. Succeeding presidents of both parties pledged to fix it and did nothing. The system is broken on multiple levels, from letting illegals in like Noah’s flood — a small percentage of whom account for a large percentage of America’s most violent crimes — and legal immigrants, not properly vetted — a small percentage of whom account for bloodbaths from the Boston Marathon to the Orlando, Fort Hood and San Bernardino massacres.
Donald Trump made it a keystone of his presidential campaign to remake the immigration system from top to bottom. Even someone with an agenda must be willing to give him a chance to do that if his motive is honest.
Let’s get even more real: So far as I can discover, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle cited no breach of law in granting his restraining order blocking the president’s action; Washington State’s attorney general complained of no breach of law when he brought suit. Attorney General Bob Ferguson claimed his state was hurt in its ability to operate its universities and collect tax revenue from the restricted visa holders. Since when does a state’s need for tax revenues and university staffing supersede the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs? Yet the judge agreed the state had a legitimate grievance. He went on to say visa holders’ constitutional rights were violated due to religious discrimination, ignoring reality that no religious test was given and visa holders (as opposed to green card holders) have no constitutional right to enter the United States. He finally declared the visa holders — and Washington state — demonstrated to his satisfaction they might suffer serious and irreparable harm if the travel ban stands. The problem with his declaration is the serious-and-irreparable harm test only applies where laws have been broken; they have not.
The capstone of this legal sham is the judge’s application of his order across the United States; he finds in favor of people who have not participated in the lawsuit his court has heard. This judge makes Barack Obama’s extra-legal orders seem tame by comparison.
Zechariah was a Jewish prophet writing six centuries before the birth of Christ; he wrote some awesomely good news for his people returning from exile in modern-day Iraq and Iran. Specially noteworthy is Zechariah 9:8-17. The prophet quotes God the Father as declaring these exhausted and impoverished Jews are going to be a blessing to themselves and the whole world if they simply hang in there with the Father. He says their prosperity will exceed anything they have known before — and it will be shared with all who are in need. There are things these Jews must do to receive these blessings. They are required to tell the truth, render fair and peacemaking judgments in their courts, and bless rather than curse one another. God promises to do the heavy lifting, but only for those who obey in their treatment of one another.
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Here is the good news for anyone who has a stake in a healthy immigration system — not to be confused with a politically correct one. The God served by Donald Trump — the One who gifted all Americans with America regardless of their origin — claims His promises are for all mankind because of the love of His Son and the power of His Spirit. There is just the one catch — He expects us moderns to meet the same requirements as those long-ago Jewish refugees if we would receive their benefits. Modern Israel is the fruit of that ancient covenant — and the guarantee of what we can expect if we respect Him and one another.
It begins with context — and a little honesty.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.