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Letter: Immigration order reflects president’s ignorance

A recent letter writer pointed out, correctly, that U.S. law allows our government to apply different standards to visa applicants from different countries. He then went on to suggest, incorrectly, that our elected representatives "do not have th...

A recent letter writer pointed out, correctly, that U.S. law allows our government to apply different standards to visa applicants from different countries. He then went on to suggest, incorrectly, that our elected representatives “do not have the slightest idea” of this, and that the U.S. hasn’t done this in many years.

The U.S. can, and does, treat applicants differently depending on which country they came from. I’m not an immigration expert, but this fact is widely known. Citizens of “visa waiver” countries, mostly in western Europe, have a streamlined process to get here. People from other countries face heavier scrutiny. In certain areas, “extreme vetting” of would-be visitors and immigrants has been in force for years.

That’s exactly why the recent executive order described as a “Muslim ban” makes no sense. It barred refugees who had undergone years of vetting, and legal permanent residents who had already gone through a “needle’s eye” to qualify for “green cards.” It included infants who had been approved for life-saving medical treatment. It included translators who had risked their own lives to help members of our military.

The current president said on the campaign trail that he wanted to stop all Muslims, and others from certain countries, “until we can figure out what’s going on.” Executive order 13769 echoes this idea.

A number of members of his own executive branch, in the Departments of State, Homeland Security and Justice, already knew “what’s going on,” but weren’t consulted, nor were key members of Congress. Our allies abroad were not notified.

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Many people in government are much more familiar with longstanding U.S. policies than is the current president. For this reason, at least 24 Republicans have issued statements in opposition to the current order; dozens more have criticized it.

The letter writer goes on to say that “the Quran evidently forbids Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.” I’m not a Muslim, and I have no idea whether there’s a basis to that statement. I am a Christian, and am aware that there are those who interpret the Bible in the same way.

I do know that many Muslims have taken that oath and demonstrated lifelong allegiance to the people and ideals of our country. Some have died for it.

I wouldn’t want a government official to decide, based on somebody’s reading of my holy book, that I couldn’t “swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.” Would you?

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