Thoughts on the Travel Ban

Regarding President Trump’s recent Executive Order 13769 and the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, the current argument speaks to three larger issues.

1) The proper role and approach of the judicial branch.

2) The purpose of our republic and whether it’s a right or a privilege for non-citizens to be here.

3)  Whether we benefit from having more Muslims enter our country.

First let’s read the law ourselves.

8 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Part II – Admission Qualifications for Aliens; Travel Control of Citizens and Aliens
Sec. 1182 – Inadmissible aliens
From the U.S. Government Printing Office,

§1182. Inadmissible aliens


(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate…….

Seems clear.

And now an excerpt from the court’s ruling, which was to deny a motion, by the Trump administration, for a stay of the earlier ruling by the Washington District Court:

Our decision is guided by four questions: “(1) Whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.”

The court goes on to discuss the situation from the context of those four questions.  An interesting question — what if the court, instead, chose to discuss the situation from the context of the law?

This question of context illustrates what we mean when we say “legislate from the bench.”  The court stated very clearly that it was ruling based primarily on the court’s idea of the effect the executive order or the stay of the lower court’s ruling will have on different parties.  I thought the court was supposed to rule on whether a given thing is legal or not.  Something like what we have now, which couldn’t possibly be simpler, clearer or more straightforward is muddled by “intellectuals” who live in the gray.  In fact, when I was a young man, an attorney told me that one of the key things he learned in law school was that nothing is black and white — everything is gray.  That’s really sinister, isn’t it?  It replaces a transcendent set of right/wrong standards with an arena in which the subjectivity of one or a few with power ultimately rules.

Our republic only exists to protect the liberty and property of its citizens.   If non-citizens are entitled to the rights and privileges of the citizens of a given sovereign nation, then the citizenship of that nation becomes worthless.  In other words, if aliens are somehow entitled to be in the U.S. and are entitled to have the same level of privilege that we have, then we may as well do away with citizenship.   Where did we get the idea that the purpose of our republic is to grant the wishes of all the people around the world?  Where did we get the idea that anyone who wants to be in our country is entitled to be here?

Though some of the president’s detractors have attempted to characterize this executive order as a ban on Muslims, it’s clearly not.   For one thing, absent from the list of seven (developed by President Obama in 2015) are countries such as Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.  For another, the order itself acknowledges that people from the seven, restricted countries are of different religions and directs on how to handle refugees who are of minority religions in those countries.  More importantly, though, there are Muslims in countries all over the world, so a ban on Muslims would have to say explicitly that it is a ban on Muslims in order for it to actually be a ban on Muslims.

That being said, what if it were a ban on Muslims?  What would we gain, and what would we lose, if we were to implement such a ban?  There is only one group in the world, right now, which has a significant number of its members who kill people for disagreeing with them.  We don’t know exactly which of the Muslims will do this.   We do know that within a given, large group of them, there are certainly some who hate us and will kill some of us, if given the chance.  Thus it seems logical to keep them all out.  But what about those who would bring good to our country?   What good?  Work ethic, hospitality, good manners?  Don’t we already have those things in our country among people who love it and aren’t planning to kill our citizens?  We won’t miss it, at all, if some polite Muslims don’t make it into our society.  Perhaps they can work, within their own brutal societies, to bring some enlightenment to their fellows who are killers.  Someone said to me, recently, that though he agreed with my take on the brutality and inherent danger which come with the Islamic world, he didn’t feel like it upheld the spirit of what we’re about to keep them out.  I asked him if it upholds the spirit of what we’re about to let scores of people in who hate the spirit of what we’re about and wish to destroy it.

In short, it appears that the President is doing a good job, in this, in representing the best interest of our country by executing the law of the land (see Executive Branch) and standing up for our national sovereignty.  It appears that the court is working against the best interest of our country, in this case, based on something other than the law (see Judicial Branch) and other than our national and individual best interest.  I think it must have to do with how they want to see themselves.  Sadly, though, it’s at the expense of the rest of us, as they are looking in distorted mirrors.







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