As the Left and some Republicans lose their minds over President Donald J. Trump’s executive order on immigration, let’s not forget that the list of concerned countries that the Trump administration outlined in the order is based on the one signed into law by the former Obama administration. So, it looks like the Obama White House set the groundwork (viaMic News):
According to the draft copy of Trump's executive order, the countries whose citizens are barred entirely from entering the United States is based on a bill that Obama signed into law in December 2015.
Obama signed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act as part of an omnibus spending bill. The legislation restricted access to the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from 38 countries who are visiting the United States for less than 90 days to enter without a visa.
Though outside groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and NIAC Action — the sister organization of the National Iranian American Council — opposed the act, the bipartisan bill passed through Congress with little pushback.
At the initial signing of the restrictions, foreigners who would normally be deemed eligible for a visa waiver were denied if they had visited Iran, Syria, Sudan or Iraq in the past five years or held dual citizenship from one of those countries.
In February 2016, the Obama administration added Libya, Somali and Yemen to the list of countries one could not have visited — but allowed dual citizens of those countries who had not traveled there access to the Visa Waiver Program. Dual citizens of Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Iran are still ineligible, however.
So, in a nutshell, Obama restricted visa waivers for those seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — and now, Trump is looking to bar immigration and visitors from the same list of countries.
Yet, I don’t remember the Left freaking out over this. I certainly don’t remember them going indiscriminately insane when the Obama White House stopped processing Iraqi visas for six months in 2011 when—surprise! —Al-Qaeda operatives feigned refugee status to get relocated to Bowling Green, Kentucky. And yes, some of the visa applicants who were screwed over worked as intelligence assets and interpreters for the U.S. military, according to ABC News. But remember, there was a Democrat in the Oval Office, so it was okay at the time.
Here’s the text of the order.
Via The Atlantic this is what it will and will not do. Most importantly, the publication adds that this technically isn’t a Muslim ban, as people from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, can still visit the country:
Who is affected?
For 120 days, the order bars the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S. It also prohibits all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. until further notice. Additionally, it bans the citizens of seven countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering the U.S. on any visa category. This appears to include those individuals who are permanent residents of the U.S. (green-card holders) who may have been traveling overseas to visit family or for work—though their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, a senior administration official said Saturday.
Is this a Muslim ban?
Technically no. The ban includes seven majority Muslim countries, but by no means are these states the most populous Muslim countries, nor are they among the top sources of Muslim immigration to the U.S., nor have they produced terrorists in the same numbers as other Muslim countries not on the list.
So, it’s not really a Muslim ban and the nations that Trump listed are the ones that were drafted by Obama.