Category Archives: Domestic Issues

Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Update

In my opinion, the best lie is the one that is just a little bit tainted with truth. Those lies are the best lies. About two weeks ago, President Donald Trump (yeah, it still does not sound right) signed an executive order which asked for increased scrutiny of persons wanting to immigrate to this country from several lands. I say “several lands,” because if you actually read his executive order; first of all, it is kind of a headache, as it is long and nonspecific. The order does not actually specify Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. So, let us actually read what the order says I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

Now, this whole thing quickly gets complicated. It appears that President Trump’s executive order refers to the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.” This bill was tacked onto the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. So, it is kinda hard to say that this was an Obama administration initiative. The bill was actually written by former Congresswoman Candice Miller, a Republican. To make matters even more confusing, this bill, HR 158, simply canceled the Visa Waiver Program. So, essentially, what this did was force travelers from Syria and Iraq to get visas the old-fashioned way, through interviews at the American consulate. So, President Obama had the choice of signing this huge, omnibus spending bill into law, allowing our government to continue to operate (or to veto it), because of this bill’s being tacked on by Congresswoman Miller. You tell me, does this sound like an Obama program?

So, because this is not confusing enough, Donald Trump said, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Um, this is not exactly true either. So, in response to the May 2011 arrest of two Iraqi refugees on terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Obama Administration decided that immigrants from Iraq warranted increased scrutiny. This was not a ban. It was increased scrutiny. So, on one hand, Donald Trump was right. President Obama did do something in 2011, and his policy was relatively similar… kind of, but not really.

This is not the kind of thing you should NOT be arguing over at the water cooler. It is simply not worth it. There are tons of details. For the most part, when you are arguing over at the office water cooler, nobody knows the details. The reason I bring this up is that I heard the argument in the emergency room. Two doctors were going at it. One was accusing the other of hypocrisy because “Obama did the same thing.” No, Obama did not. Go back and read. While it is important to engage our fellow Americans, it is not important to discuss the details of a ban that is an actual ban; verses Obama’s ban, which was not, in reality, a ban. Got it.

Finally, I think that the President has the power to control who is coming into this country. I think that’s in the Constitution. I don’t think we can argue that. Instead, the argument is what kind of convoluted nonsense Trump put in his executive order.  Oops. I just got an email from my (our) constitutional scholar Linda Monk. I was wrong!!! Article I gives the power of immigration to Congress and NOT the president.  Article I, Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power to establish as uniform Rule of Naturalization. There it is in black and white.  Article II deals with the President. It says in Section 2 – The President shall be Commander in Chief of the  Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States. The president’s powers, with regard to immigration, are implied. So, Congress needs to pass a law restricting immigration from those 7 countries. That would be lawful!

Gorsuch – No, Not Today

No. I am sorry. I cannot support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court of the United States. It is not that he is unqualified. This guy is plenty qualified. He is the Peyton Manning of law. He has the pedigree. He has clerked for all the right people in all the right places. He went to the right schools – high school, college, law school, and postgraduate education. The point is not whether or not he is qualified. Neither is the point whether I agree with his ideology. I do not. Instead, we should be focusing on the fact that Neil Gorsuch is all about process.

President, let me underscore this, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Mister Garland is eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. Yet, empowered by purely partisan politics, the GOP-led Senate decided to make up their own criteria about whom they are going to vet and whom they are not. This is all about the Democrats’ deciding that it is time to grow a backbone. Sometimes, you need to draw a line in the sand and say, “This is about principle.”

We can go into all the ins and outs behind why the Republicans were 100% wrong about not even granting a hearing to Merrick Garland. They were wrong. They knew that, were they actually hold hearings, Merrick Garland would come off as someone who was thoughtful, intelligent; and, God forbid, Supreme Court material. So they decided to obstruct and thwart Garland in every way. Now, if we allow Neil Gorsuch to move forward, we have rewarded the Republicans for obstructionism. This cannot happen.

Every now and then, you must stand up for what you believe. Do you believe in the Constitution? Do you believe that we are a land of laws? If so, you must admit that we have no choice but to force the Republicans, and Donald Trump, to nominate Merrick Garland, even if they decide to vote him down. He must go through the process. It is the right thing to do. It is the American way.