Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Xenophobia Is Xenophobia

This new travel ban does nothing to make me safer. Zero. It's just as xenophobic as the last one, but carefully re-written to acknowledge and avoid all the valid legal arguments that got it shot down on the first attempt.

But even with the re-writing, the new effort is still based on several absurd assumptions. First, and like the previous order, that there is no vetting, which is silly. Go ahead! If you don't believe me.
Given that there is vetting, why is the administration not talking about what is wrong with vetting we now have in place? I'll posit a guess. Because that assumption is bullshit. Anyone read any case studies about what went wrong in San Bernardino or Orlando that justify this approach? Me neither. FiveThirtyEight makes this point, among many others that highlight why the rationale for this whole thing is baseless. narrowing the order so that current visa holders are not affected, the administration undermines its argument that the ban is needed because existing vetting procedures are insufficient to protect national security. Courts could interpret the decision to exempt current visa holders from the new restrictions as an admission that the status quo visa vetting procedures are adequate. “Leaving in current visa holders also undermines the argument that these nationals per se pose a unique threat, and that the current vetting process is inadequate to deal with this threat, which is their whole argument,” [David] Bier said (immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute).
The second assumption is that this is "vital" according to the Secretary of State. Why!?! Where is the threat coming from? Somalia, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen? No, it isn't. Check. Or check the source of the data from the Cato Institute.

So why? Why is this so important for keeping me and my family safe? There is no answer. The policy is just taking advantage of six countries, most very poor and suffering from the most tragic recent history imaginable. They, unlike Iraq, won't put up a very strong fight. That's all. Just a meaningless piece of policy that sounds tough while doing nothing to address the real issue.

Also, all that huffing and puffing by the POTUS about how the first ban was so well done and correct is basically forgotten in this new version. (I guess we won't SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAGE!) The new version seems to be written by calculating hyper-partisans whose only real goal is to save face from their first effort. I'd leave it at that and assume that the whole thing will pass in four months, but I suspect that what they are really doing is pushing the lines of acceptability even further. Get this one through based on flawed assumptions and push even harder next time. For the life of me, I can see who that serves in the long-term.

The most concise rationale against the new executive order is by Amy Davidson in The New Yorker, Trumps Decisive New Travel Ban. She asks: "How much power does President Trump have to divide people, and how willing are Americans to play along?"

All to be seen. 

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