On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, justifiably stirring up controversy as many observed it was tantamount to a ban on Muslim immigration. However, surprisingly enough, Trump has since defended his executive order as merely a continuation of President Obama’s policies.
It’s worth noting that Trump is referring to an incident in 2011 in which officials discovered two Iraqis had formerly been involved in constructing “improvised roadside bombs in Iraq,” according to The Washington Post. Close examination of fragments of thousands of bomb parts by the FBI revealed the fingerprints of the Iraqi men on detonated improvised bombs from 2005, and the two were arrested.
Their arrests heeded reexamination by the Obama administration of more than 58,000 Iraqi immigrants, on top of new, more extensive background checks on Iraqi refugees which led to delayed visa approvals for immigrants from Iraq.
However, the enhanced screening procedures mandated by the Obama administration differ from Trump’s outright ban and were deemed necessary by Congress as a result of direct threats at the time. The Obama administration did not sweepingly identify specific countries from which immigration would be banned, instead calling for rigorous vetting of immigrants from “countr[ies] or area[s] of concern” in the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.
Trump is lying when he claims his muslim ban EO is like Obama’s 2011 review of Iraqi visas: https://t.co/3uFeYgn4IU
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) January 30, 2017
Trump’s executive order appears to be the broadening of previous policies by the Obama administration, but calls for intensive vetting cannot be confused with outright bans. Despite conservative stereotyping of refugees and individuals fleeing from war-torn regions as potential terrorists, many are often women and children. Still, regardless of age and gender, the cruelty of separating families and refusing to even vet and consider individuals fleeing desperate circumstances simply on the basis of their religion, race, and country of origin.
The executive order has been widely protested since being signed off on, reportedly preventing even veterans and students from returning to the United States. Conflict over the enforcement of the executive order has even led President Trump to remove acting attorney general Sally Yates.
Despite this, the Trump administration has remained firm in upholding the discriminatory executive order, which is just one of a handful he signed off on in his first week as president.