President Donald Trump's executive order imposing an immediate rewrite of U.S. immigration law produced expected results: chaos, protests and loud cheers from his base. Trump made clear the hasty implementation was a feature rather than a flaw: "If the ban were announced with a one-week notice," he tweeted, "the 'bad' would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad 'dudes' out there!"
The ban (Trump did call it that) was little more than a temporary inconvenience to the real "bad dudes," but it put many American citizens and green card holders in confusion — and potentially at risk. Some green card holders who were previously vetted were turned away. At Washington-Dulles Airport, a 5-year-old boy, a U.S. citizen whose mother is from Iran, was detained for hours. Law enforcement agencies, customs officials, airlines and leaders of other countries were left to interpret conflicting signals. Within days, several federal judges had put holds on some of the ban's provisions, while the White House sent contradictory messages as to what the plan meant for green card holders who already had been vetted.
Meanwhile, pro bono lawyers set up shop at airports to assist travelers from the seven predominantly Muslim countries that the order names: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Trump's order received mostly praise from Louisiana's Congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. John Neely Kennedy, who skirted the green card issue in a general statement of support, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who told WVUE Fox 8, "I think this freeze from certain countries, where we cannot vet, makes a lot of sense." (All immigrants are, of course, vetted.)
A 5-year-old boy, a U.S. citizen whose mother is from Iran, was detained for hours.
To his credit, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician, struck a muted tone of support, issuing a statement that said, "I know many physicians from these countries who provide vital healthcare services to fellow Americans. Some are naturalized citizens and some permanent residents with green cards. Often times they work in rural areas or inner cities where there are no other doctors. Their ability to return freely to the United States after traveling is important to their patients, neighbors and families. Although I speak of doctors, there are others just as important. I am pleased to see that this order is being refined to address this and I look forward to it being further refined. Our nation's security and our Constitution can be respected simultaneously."
Before any "refinement," the executive order was opposed vigorously by educators and others. The American Council on Education, which represents many institutions of higher learning, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, saying, "We support efforts to enhance the nation's security. We also believe that it is in our collective interest to ensure that the United States remains the destination of choice for the world's best and brightest students, faculty and scholars." Local universities expressed similar sentiments.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond likewise criticized the ban. He summed up the feelings of Christians everywhere when he said, "Jesus himself was once a refugee."
We agree, and like Cassidy, we await Trump's "refinement" on this bludgeon of a policy.