Here’s the next “episode” of sorts of my review of this ridiculous spectacle that is Trump’s presidency. Again, the purpose of these posts is to clarify misinformation coming from Trump and those who work under him. For more information regarding how I obtain my information for these posts, read this:
Recently, Trump had this to say about his executive order to halt travel to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries:
“My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”
He’s right to use the word “similar.” But there are clear differences. I should note that the only article I was able to find that mentioned that a ban in 2011 on Iraqi refugees lasted 6 months was this 2013 ABC News article:
It states: “As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets.”
The “Kentucky case” is in reference to two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists being found living as refugees in Kentucky. Following this discovery, I believe Congress tasked Obama’s administration with creating a stricter vetting process.
For more information regarding the creation of a stricter vetting process, you can watch this September, 2011 Congressional hearing where Senator Susan Collins asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano here, at about 56 minutes in:
Note that they’re specifically talking about refugees being resettled. Also note that the number of Iraqi refugees dropped from 18,251 in 2010 to 6,339 in 2011 (then jumped back up again in 2012). You can find the numbers here but you’ll have to do some adding (don’t count the fiscal year, count from January to December):
If ABC News, and only ABC News, is to believed, this process took 6 months. If the LA Times is to believed, the vetting process had “slowed to a crawl,” instead of stopping abruptly.
The actual differences between Trump’s ban and Obama’s ban starts with the fact that Obama’s ban was in response to an actual threat (the “Kentucky case”) while Trump’s ban came seemingly from out of the blue. Well, in the actual executive order, he does mention 9/11 and states “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program.”
The 7 countries in Trump’s ban are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. According to the New America website, 94 people have been killed by jihadists in America these past 15 years. They report that most attackers came from the US itself and that some came from countries outside of the 7 in Trump’s ban. So none of the 7 countries in Trump’s ban have been responsible for deadly terrorist attacks since 9/11:
Additionally, according to Politifact:
“’Since 9/11, no one has been killed in this country in a terrorist attack by anyone who emigrated from any of the seven countries,’ added William C. Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law.”
On top of that, none of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from any of these countries.
Something else to note is that Obama’s ban was only for refugees. Trump’s ban covers non-immigrants and green-card holders.
The following is an earlier statement made by Trump in regards to the ban:
“You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”
However, some would say the vetting is already “extreme,” as reported by one person who actually experienced it.
Over a period of 15 months, Mostafa Hassoun was interviewed five times with increasingly thorough questions about his history, political beliefs, religion, family, hobbies, and opinions on the US and his answers were compared to those of his family members. They also measured his height and weight, took fingerprints, took photos, scanned irises, took blood samples, took x-rays, and tested his sight and hearing. At the end of it all, only he and his sister were allowed to enter the US. The rest of his family never heard back from the American resettlement agency.
If his story is to be believed, how much more extreme can the vetting get?
Finally, I wanted to review Trump’s misleading statements about voter fraud but I’m exhausted. Well, real quick, I’ll say that his citation of a 2012 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts as evidence of voter fraud is misleading. The report states that “more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters” and that “approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” The authors of the report, including David Becker, have stated that the study shows voter rolls are susceptible to fraud and never claimed that it was evidence of actual fraud.
David Becker’s tweet can back this up:
So, that’s the end of this episode. Tune in next time where I... man, am I really doing this?