Monday, January 30, 2017

Jesus Christ... It Ain't About Religion!!

Today's history lesson comes to you courtesy of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

If you are gonna raise hell about Trump's executive order on travel restrictions, you should know history.  And then you should wonder why you never even heard of the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act.  And why you STILL have not heard any Democrat refer to it this week.  And after you learn history, you should read Trump's Executive Order to know exactly what it says.  By the way, it mentions only one country by name... Syria.

FYI, the Visa Waiver Program is a US program that was passed in 1986 during Reagan's administration.  It allows citizens of 38 identified, developed countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without having to apply for and obtain a visa.  Nationals of countries not part of the agreement must apply for a visa in order to travel to the US.  In order to get a visa to the US, one would need to apply, get fingerprinted and have a face to face visitor visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in their country.  There is generally a wait of several weeks.

On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016, which included the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). This Act identified that nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Sudan after 2011 were no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the VWP.  In February, 2016, Obama's Dept of Homeland Security added Libya, Yemen and Somalia to that list of Countries of Particular Concern.  They would now need to apply for a visa as any other citizen of any other non-VWP country.  Simply because they VISITED one of the seven countries.  

Now... near as I can figure, that is a travel policy implemented by Obama that makes a distinction between these seven countries and the rest of the world.  I never heard anyone accuse Obama of making sweeping policy changes based on someone's religion.  Yet, when Trump used that preexisting list of seven countries in his order to suspend issuance of visas, somehow HIS policy is racist and un-American.

So THAT'S your history lesson.  Now for your "PRESENT" lesson.

A BAN ON ONE RELIGION?   NOPE.   President Trump's order targets seven countries that happen to be also be Muslim-majority countries.  There are FIFTY Muslim-majority countries in this world.  I have been out of school for a lot of fukkin' years, but my math tells me that citizens in 43 Muslim-majority countries are not effected by this order.  That includes citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria and Morocco, all of which are 99% Muslim.  So when Marty Walsh spouts into a microphone that discrimination based on religion is not American, don't applaud him blindly because he's a Democrat.  Remind yourself that Obama separated the same seven countries from the rest of the world.

Trump's order TEMPORARILY suspends the issuance of any visas to any nationals of the seven aforementioned countries for a period of 90 days.  During the first 30 days, the Secretary of State and Dept of National Intelligence are to review the current vetting process and determine what information is going to be needed to properly vet those seeking admission into the United States.  They will determine which countries are not providing that information and give them 60 days to comply.  If they do not comply, citizens of those countries will be barred from traveling to the US.

BARRING GREEN CARD HOLDERS?  Nope again.  Green card holders WILL NOT be barred from re-entering the country.  Citizens of those target countries who have permanent residency will be subject of greater scrutiny, but will likely be allowed through.  Yep, that means that for the next three months, citizens of those countries will be detained for a few hours undergoing questioning by customs agents.

HALTING REFUGEES:  The Refugee Admission Program is suspended for 4 months while the new administration reviews the vetting process before allowing them to resettle in the US.  People escaping religious persecution will still be allowed to resettle in the US, just so long as their religion is not the majority religion of the country from which they are running.

In the end, this executive order represents a suspension of certain policies while this administration reviews and determines how best to protect this nation while remaining a country of immigrants and continuing to show compassion to those fleeing oppression.  But it is a delicate balance.  A balance that has thrown the left into more tantrums.  The former President feels he is still relevant because he sounded off today.  Go away asshole.  You had your 8 years.

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