Last weekend we were hit with a new Executive Order from the POTUS on immigration. The world went instantly mad. I have to say, I went right along with it and I want to talk about why. As the mother of an immigrant (calling all you international adoptive parents - despite some of your views, our children are immigrants), I quickly saw the possibilities, especially in regards to the current POTUS and his chief advisor, a man known for promoting white dominance. So, I began to do what I always do - read, research, think, repeat. I read both liberal and conservative news, go directly to the source (in this case the Executive Order and laws on immigration) and then drew my own conclusions.
My disclaimer is that this blog post is a blend of facts, opinion and speculation. And before reading on there are 4 things you should know.
1. I am not in favor of completely open borders. Nor do I believe we can solve the problems of the world by allowing all people to migrate to our soil. I do support our current system of visa issuance, vetting of immigration, etc. I do not have a good solution for our Southern borders. We currently have a wall going across part of the US, officers, drones, etc. and folks still get in. We will never completely eradicate illegal immigration or the threat of violence. It's a pipe dream.
2. I do feel that any current undocumented immigrants without a criminal record should be issued a permanent work visa or given legal resident status. We have turned our head to these folks for years as we KNOW we are dependent on them for a significant portion of our economy. Why not give them a legal or documented status?
3. I do support undocumented folks with criminal records (felony) being deported.
4. "Dreamers" or people who were brought to the US by their parents under the age of 17 should be given citizenship - immediately.
So, let's talk about borders. I want to say again - I am NOT in favor of open borders. To many who know me that only confirms your opinion that I am the most conservative person you know, right? Well, I am a moderate and if that makes me more conservative than you, so be it. Moving on. Most developed countries do not have open borders. If they did, you would not need a passport or need to file for a Visa to travel abroad. Have you ever been to Switzerland? I have. Guess what. Armed guards. Who check passports. And, not just at borders. Let's talk about Canada. Did you know that if you are US citizen with a DUI on their record, you are refused entry into Canada? What about Saudi Arabia? Guess what? Visas for tourism do not exist. And, if you are a woman traveling alone, forget it! So, before we lose our minds, let's think about what entry into other countries looks like and how easy it is to move from country to country (legally) and what other laws are in place to protect that country from terrorism or smuggling or culture or.....
Do you know about the Visa Waiver Program or the VWP as it is called? Did President Obama also ban the same folks being banned by the new POTUS? Technically, no. Did Obama work with the Department of Homeland Security to create intensified screening in regards to the 7 countries listed on the Executive Order? Yes. It is apparent that the U.S. Government knows something I don't making the threat of nationals from these countries since 2011 a heightened risk due to the number of folks who are taking boot camp sessions in the Middle East with ISIS. The VWP is a program that allows folks from certain countries to travel into the US for business or vacation without a visa. Most countries seem to have these reciprocal programs (which is mentioned in the EO). These countries banned are no longer allowed to participate in that program and now need a Visa to enter the US and this happened under President Obama. The current POTUS took this a step further and banned those same countries. When he did that he overstepped the bounds of his authority and stepped into Constitutional la-la land where he is the supreme ruler. Thankfully, checks and balances were set up and he has gotten a big fat slap on the wrist.
With these things said, I want to get to the point of why the Executive Order issued last week was a problem. I want to give you the FACTS and not the hysteria or memes or headlines. Let's first talk about whether or not the EO was within the bounds of the Constitution. It was not. Do you know why? In 1965 the Hart-Cellar act abolished nation of origin restrictions on immigration. Period. It amended immigration priorities and made it illegal for immigrants to be discriminated against based on where they were born. The POTUS references the Immigrant and Nationality Act of 1952 in its authority to issue this travel ban, but in actuality, a later law (1965) made his act of banning based on nationality illegal.
The numbers vary greatly depending on what you read. The POTUS team says a few hundred were impacted by the order, which other numbers make them to be around 90,000. It is very vague as to whether that 90,000 is the number that will be affected during the 90-day ban or where this number comes from. What else was vague? Well, pretty much all of it, my primary concerns were initial decisions to turn away US CITIZENS and green card holders. A friend of mine said, they'll be vetted. Guess what? They've already been vetted. Over and over and over again. I have several friends whose spouses are from foreign countries, including the Middle East and the vetting was intense, and long and scary. Please explain what additional vetting needed to happen.
Now, what about legality? I have recently seen several memes saying "no one is illegal". Well, they are as there are laws around how you enter a country, so if someone has not followed those laws they are here illegally. Period. There are many illegal immigrants in the US. Some say around 11 million. And, despite what those who are anti-immigrant would lead you to believe, they are not all Mexican. They are European and Israeli, and Middle Eastern and Chinese and a host of everything in between. Many came into the US on travel Visas and just sort of forgot to go home. I want to stress that my OPINION is the government should make these folks legal residents or at the very least issue a permanent work visa, UNLESS they have a felony or DUI's, in which case they should exit immediately.
Why do I care? With my views on the borders and as I do not support completely "open" borders, what makes this different and why am I opposed to this "ban"?
1. This was a knee-jerk reaction which I have no doubt was proposed by the Emperor - Senator Palpatine himself - Bannon - and did not take into account EXISTING LAWS. We are entering dangerous waters with Republicans - dangerous Republicans - in charge of both houses and the WH not to mention state level governments who are riding the line of Constitutionality each day with new laws which seek to undermine checks and balances.
2. There was no plan for implementation in US airports and essentially no notice at any other airports meaning many people were stranded in places. Is it tragic? No, it happens in international travel but there was little thought put into this plan.
3. This not only banned folks with travel visas but our OWN citizens, already vetted as well as immigrants given entry due to their roles in fighting alongside the US in Iraq.
4. Some of those affected were families bringing small children into the US for life-saving surgeries. That may mean NOTHING to you. But, for me, the mom of a child born with a cleft lip and palate and knowing that coming into the US has meant greater access to medical care for her means something to me.
5. It could be my family. I know. I'm jumping to conclusions. But, what happens if the current POTUS tweets some assinine thing about China, makes them public enemy number 1 and we are out of the country unable to get back in with our kid who was not born in the US.
6. Had any thought been put into this, my guess is that somewhere there is a law that allows the POTUS or DHS to slow down travel from those countries or limit the number of visas issues from those countries. Instead of a blanket ban, they should have begun here. And, instead of LYING and saying that President Obama did the same thing, they could have explained the VWP of 2015 and how there is indication that these countries pose additional threats and that the issuing of visas from these countries may slow.
What is amazing to me is that through all of this, Twitter continues to be the primary mode of our POTUS's communication to the people and he has attacked our checks and balances system that we were all taught as children. "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" (@realDonaldTrump)
For now, I will continue to read and think and research and repeat. I will speak out against what has become an international circus (did we have bring everyone else into our crazy) and I will use my mind to form my own opinions about right and wrong. Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, I hope you will as well.
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.