By Jason Newell:

Donald Trump’s most recent executive banning refugees from seven countries has created intense public outrage. The order itself bans refugees from seven various Middle Eastern Nations, while also, preventing immigration or travel from these same countries. However, the controversial exception to the measure allows “religious minorities” to bypass the ban as they’re classified as persecuted, i.e., Christian minorities for the most part. This exemption, in and of itself, implies preferential treatment to Middle Eastern Christians, and, at the same time, gives off an anti-Muslim vibe.

Trump himself attempted to deflect attention away from his order by pinpointing Obama’s 2011 vetting measure. But there are various key differences: In 2011, Iraqi refugees residing in Kentucky were planning a major terror attack but were ultimately unsuccessful. Obama’s order was in direct response to this terror plot. And it wasn’t a “ban.” Obama’s executive order  reduced the number of refugees admitted overall and instituted a more stringent vetting process for Iraqi citizens traveling to the US or Iraqi citizens seeking to migrate to the United States. Most important, travel visas weren’t invalidated by Obama’s order.

In contrast, Trump bans refugees across the board and also prevents mostly Muslim immigration. So Trump’s attempt to conflate the two measures is weak at best. Incidentally, the public outcry derives from the implied intention of the measure, which connotes an objective to prevent pro-Sharia Law Muslims. And to be honest, I don’t necessarily have an issue with strengthening the vetting process as some of the banned nations include majorities who view stoning homosexuals as a theocratic normality. Sharia Law itself is the antithesis to Western secular values. Nonetheless, to paint all Muslims as staunch proponents of Sharia Law is unfair as Bosnia’s Muslim base is far less extreme when compared to nations like Afghanistan.

Days after the executive order, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the legality of the measure. Quickly afterwards, attacks from the alt-right flooded the internet in order to present the ACLU as a front organization for the political desires of George Soros. But, let’s remember, the ACLU has represented controversial clients, such as the KKK, so to imply organizational partisanship is quite a stretch. The fundamental purpose of the ACLU is to defend liberty – this is why Trump’s measure is being challenged as it persecutes both refugees and immigrants from seven nations in total. Moreover, the ACLU raised $25 million dollars, mostly from large tech giants, so the “Trump effect” is positively impacting vital liberty-centric organizations.

All in all, it’s simply untrue to compare the two competing executive orders, but this is the era of alt-facts. Trump’s ban is far more broad and the externalities of his measure impacts innocent individuals not associated with radical Islam. If Trump’s anti-immigrant political approach continues, it will chip away from America’s pro-immigrant history. Remember, without immigration, this country would have never been founded.


One thought on “Obama’s Vetting Order vs. Trump’s Travel Ban: Quite Different

  1. Hi. I’m one of the new moderators on the group page to which you shared this. This is an exemplary article for sourcing and fact-checking. Even though it is from a blog, the content contains verifiable and trackable sources from reliable media agencies. Moreover, it is focused and advances the conversation about our group’s mission. Thank you.


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