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Why Muslim Travel Ban Continues To Make Headlines

February 3, 2017

FiveThirtyEight spells out the reasons.    I have stressed on this blog the American values that are undermined by this matter and the lack of competence exhibited by the White House.

One reason the travel ban has stayed in the headlines is that it involves at least three storylines. The first is the policy itself, which tapped into many Americans’ deep-seated fear of terrorism while, opponents argue, running counter to fundamental principles of religious freedom and the American identity as a nation of immigrants. Unlike many of Trump’s other early-term policy announcements, the travel ban also had immediate human consequences; by Saturday, media outlets were full of heart-wrenching stories about refugees and other travelers who were denied entry to the U.S.

The second storyline is one we’ve already covered at some length: Trump is doing what he said he would do during the campaign. When Trump first called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration during the Republican primary in late 2015, many in the media treated the statement as the kind of over-the-top proposal that would prevent Trump from winning the nomination (oops) and, if he did somehow get elected, would never be enacted. Trump’s actual executive order stops short of the full ban he initially proposed, but it nonetheless shows that he plans to make good on promises even (or perhaps especially) when they are opposed by the establishment wings of both parties.

The third storyline is how Trump enacted the ban: with minimal input and maximum chaos. Trump’s executive order was met with widespread confusion over who was covered by the ban — it took until the middle of the week to nail down whether green-card holders are exempt (they are, mostly) — and how it should be enforced. Border agents at Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C., for example, appear to have been stricter than those at other airports. By Monday, it was clear that a major reason for the confusion was that few of the agencies responsible for carrying out the policy had been consulted — or even informed about the details — before the order was signed. Multiple news outlets reported that Trump declined to consult relevant members of his own Cabinet, including Homeland Security Secretary.

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