An executive order that President Trump is expected to sign shortly restricts visits and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran.
The draft text of the order was leaked to the Huffington Post and Los Angeles Times. Titled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” it would suspend the issuance of visas for at least 30 days to most people in the seven countries while the administration revamps its vetting procedures. Most citizens of foreign countries must first obtain a visa before being allowed to enter the United States.
“In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our country and its founding principles,” the draft reads, justifying this blanket prohibition.
The draft relies on Division O, Title II, Section 203 of the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which lays out security-related exemptions to the visa waiver program, to derive that list of seven countries. In the 2016 law, Iraq and Syria are explicitly listed, Iran and Sudan are included as state sponsors of terrorism, and Libya, Somalia, and Yemen are in the “area of concern” as designated by the Department of Homeland Security.
What all seven countries also have in common is that the United States government has violently intervened in them. The U.S. is currently bombing — or has bombed in the recent past — six of them. The U.S. has not bombed Iran, but has a long history of intervention including a recent cyberattack.
It’s like a twisted version of the you-break-it-you-buy-it Pottery Barn rule: If we bomb a country or help destabilize its society, we will then ban its citizens from being able to seek refuge in the United States.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy explained this irony in a tweet Wednesday morning:
We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside. That's a horror movie, not a foreign policy.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 25, 2017
Here’s a rundown of the countries and the U.S. interventions there:
And consider that Iran, where al Qaeda, ISIS, and other anti-American terrorist organizations have no significant foothold, is included — but Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers came from and which has been a funding source for extremist groups, is not included.
When Psaki scoffed at the idea of sending Americans free Covid-19 rapid tests, it was a reminder that a for-profit health care system still limits the U.S. pandemic response.