(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
The US needs to protect its borders, it needs to take a tough stance against Islamist terrorism and it has every right to increase screening and vetting of newcomers. But Donald Trump’s executive order (EO) on immigration and refugees is not the right approach.
There is a lot to unpack in Trump’s EO, and while trying to understand the law and its impact, it’s important to separate the facts from the hysteria.
First, and despite the rhetoric, this is not a Muslim Ban.
The vast majority of the world’s Muslims, including all American Muslims, will not be directly affected by this order.
The EO includes a four-month pause on all refugees, and a three-month ban on all citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The ban includes all citizens of these seven countries, including Muslims, Christians, Jews, and athiests. The order does not list any religion, nor does it ban people from the world’s most populous Muslim countries.
Second, it is untrue that no nationals of the countries on Trump ban list have perpetrated an act of Islamic terrorism on US soil.
Both the 2016 mall attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota and the attack at Ohio State University were carried out by Somali nationals. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Senators Jeff Sessions and Ted Cruz released a report highlighting the 580 individuals who have been convicted on terrorism charges in the U.S. since the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. Of the 380 foreign-born terrorists, 21 were from Somalia, 20 were from Yemen and 19 were from Iraq.
Curiously, the largest terrorists-producing countries, including Pakistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are not included in the blanket ban. Likewise, the 9/11 hijackers were mostly from Saudi Arabia, another country not included in the ban.
That Trump didn’t include these countries is puzzling, and undermines the national security rationale behind this order.
The most troubling aspect of this order is the...(READ MORE)