Trump Ban Is Analogous To Nothing Obama Did As President
The justification for Trump’s recent ban on Muslims has been “Obama did it first.” Well, Obama didn’t do it first. In fact, Obama did no such thing. There are at least three differences between what Obama enacted, and what Trump and his supporters are claiming are actions similar to Obama’s.
Trump Ban Is In Response To Nothing
First, Obama responded to an actual threat, the discovery that two Iraqi refugees has been implicated in a bomb-making effort in Iraq that had targeted U.S. troops. (Iraq, after all, had been an official war zone.) Under congressional pressure, officials decided to reexamine all previous refugees and also impose new screening procedures, which led to a slowdown in processing new applications. Trump, by contrast, issued his executive order without any known triggering threat other than people’s irrational fear of Muslims.
Second, Obama did not announce there was a ban on visa applications. In fact, administration officials danced around that question. There was certainly a lot of news reporting that visa applications had been slowed to a trickle, but the Obama administration never said it was their policy to halt all applications, nor did they.
Third, Obama’s policy did not prevent all citizens of that country, including green-card holders, from traveling to the United States. Trump’s policy is much more sweeping, though officials have appeared to pull back from barring permanent U.S. residents. Trump has since backed off of restricting green-card holders.
Finally, Obama’s actions also increased scrutiny of a group of people from one country while new procedures were put in place. The Trump ban has, in addition to individuals from the seven countries named, stopped all refugee arrivals for 4 months and promised a vague “review” of the program. It’s important to note that approximately 50% of refugees resettled in the US are Muslim, and this order has halted the entire program without cause.