Many people argue that Trump’s executive order of controlling immigration and halting access to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries is a good thing. Many of us might believe that this action is keeping America secure. But let’s contemplate what his order says and does for a minute. 

A few points to think about:

Trump proposed a “Muslim ban.” Now, he’s complaining that his order is called a “Muslim ban.” And Republicans are running to his defense also saying that the ban isn’t Muslim. On Sunday, he issued a statement to clarify: 

“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”

Initially, during his campaign, Trump said that he would temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the US. This message was later condensed into the temporary ban of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. But, the intent, many say, is the same. 

Many commentators argue that just because it’s happening only in seven countries and not all Muslim countries, this doesn’t prove it isn’t a Muslim ban, in other words, a religious discrimination ban. A reporter rightly pointed out that if slavery, let’s say, happened only in some states, does this make it more legal or does this mean it’s not happening? 

They were also references to Obama last night, from press secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer said that Obama’s administration had a similar ban to Trump’s. Firstly, this shows that the Trump administration isn’t confident with its own policies and constantly turns to Obama’s presidency to show that they are legitimate, because Obama did it himself. The White House fails to see that by constantly using the Obama administration as a standard they need to beat, or explaining how they are similar, they are making themselves look insecure. Secondly, what did Obama’s policy on immigration do exactly?

Obama did a slow processing, not a ban, of Iraqi refugees, for six months in 2011. This didn’t include tourists and immigrants, and it didn’t halt completely all Iraqi refugees from entering the US in that period. In addition, back then the FBI had reasons to suspect terrorists were entering the US as war refugees and it was conducting investigations. But Trump has no immediate reason or threat from any particular country—and of course we wouldn’t know if he had—but his ban is actually creating dangers for the country’s security, and is based on fear-mongering. 

Thirdly, Trump says that the seven countries were Obama’s invention. The Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 identified seven countries. Obama, however, removed from the Visa Waiver Program dual nationals from four countries (Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Syria), anyone who had travelled to these countries and also added Libya, Somalia and Yemen, without creating a total ban on entry to the US from these countries. It meant that a certain percentage of these citizens needed to acquire a visa for travel before entering the US. It also involved heightened screening for others who might have appeared more suspicious. Obama’s bill also included exceptions ““To avoid punishing people who clearly had good reasons to travel to the relevant countries, the Obama administration used a waiver provided by Congress for certain travelers, including journalists, aid workers, and officials from international organizations like the United Nations.” Trump’s policy bans certain nationals who might not be terrorists, without screening others who might have travelled to countries under suspicion.

As Vox put it clearly: Trump’s policy “says that all people from these seven Muslim-majority countries should be considered terrorists until proven otherwise. Obama’s policy did nothing of the kind.” 

Fourthly, Obama’s 2011 review was not conducted “fast” as Trump would say, but methodically and efficiently, through meetings including Cabinet officials, relevant departments and agencies from the State, Homeland Security and Justice Departments to the intelligence community. In contrast, Trump’s order was written by White House officials and taken to the implementing agencies. Thus, the ensuing chaos and confusion that followed.

But, following on the above point, it seems that in order to prove to us that all run smoothly, we had to witness, last night (Tuesday, 31 January) the weird parading of officials during a news conference at the US Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington. The press conference was an opportunity to discuss how the president's executive orders were implemented. The US Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, the newly-appointed secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan, and DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) Acting Undersecretary David Glawewere were introduced to us in an attempt to convince us that they were informed of the ban beforehand and that they were “in pretty good shape on how it was implemented.” But many officials told CNN that the inter-agency process had been side-stepped and that the White House drafted it on its own.  Awkwardly enough, Kelly tried to evade the fact he wasn’t properly involved in drafting the order by saying, “I didn’t get involved in correcting grammar or reformatting the thing.”

People who are fleeing ISIS to find asylum in the US are halted at airports. Their lives are endangered for some ban that might not be actually to anybody’s benefit. 

The order is actually destroying established relationships with ally countries such as Iraq. Muslims have sacrificed their lives aiding American soldiers, with Iraqi and Afghani language translators cited by many as the real heroes. Helping intelligence forces in their own cities they had to escape to the US for safety. 

How can America break its promises and forget its responsibility to so many people who have helped the country?  For example, a 50-year old Iraqi-American, Susan, who was employed in the US Embassy in Baghdad, had worked with Americans in Iraq and has put her own life and the lives of her family in danger by working against terrorists. How is it possible to ban translators and others who have helped America in the global war on terror and then allow terrorists from other countries to walk in the country freely (Al Qaeda's leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri is Egyptian.)

Not to mention the many intellectual and scientific minds working or studying in America. It’s ironic, when in 2015 Trump tweeted: “When foreigners attend our great colleges & want to stay in the U.S., they should not be thrown out of our country.”

Of course, there have to be screenings and traditional procedures followed, but no nation can allow such discriminatory bans to separate families and threaten a nation’s foreign policy and relations. As mentioned in other articles here, easy answers to complex issues are very dangerous and we should always be suspicious of black and white solutions. There are ways to keep a country safe, but isolating yourself from others has never proved to be a productive or efficient way. Which brings us to what lies behind Trump’s anti-immigration policy.

Darth Vader, Satan and Bannon, the ventriloquist

Bannon is the face behind Trump’s mask. Breitbart News existed before Trump was into politics. Breitbart is Trump’s politics. Let’s also remember what Bannon said of Trump: He is a “blunt instrument for us.” He has also said: “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.” What motivates Bannon is this love for power and his hatred for anything that has to do with “The media bubble” who is “suffocating this nation.” His own version of alternative news of course is the only right version. Bannon’s white nationalism is dangerous, because this is what drives at the moment Trump’s presidency. But we need to pull back the curtain and see the reality; that Bannon is a ventriloquist and Trump his dummy.