It’s Not a Muslim Ban and It’s Not a Good Idea


Is the executive order a ban on Muslims? Sort of, yes, no. Here’s what Lindsey Graham and John McCain argue in a statement shortly after the order was issued:

This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. – Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham

While only a small percentage of the world’s Muslims are directly identified in the order, the ban is seen by many as targeting a specific religious group. Esther D. Brimmer, CEO of NAFSA, the largest advocacy group for international students in the US, was clear in her condemnation of the executive order in a statement released on Monday:

Perceived around the world as a thinly veiled attempt to target Muslim-majority countries, these new measures risk alienating friends and allies, particularly in this region where relationships are so vital.

Brimmer’s point is clear: If we do not work to build relationships with the people of the countries targeted in the executive order, we will be less safe. This point is echoed by human rights lawyer Jennifer Prestholdt in a recent blog post that methodically picks apart the executive order and lays out the consequences:

This Executive Order is public policy based on myth instead of doing what is best for our country and our security. Every Department of Homeland Security professional that I have ever met has said that the problem is lack of resources rather than the need for new laws or regulations. Every refugee I know is a true American patriot, one who tears up when saluting the flag or appear at jury duty because they know – better than me – the true price of freedom.

Many millions of Americans voted for President Trump seemingly because he has so little experience in Washington or in crafting effective policy. We are now experiencing the consequences of his lack of experience. Good policy looks ahead at unintended consequences, weighs the positive outcomes against the negative, and is ultimately enforceable. This might not be a Muslim ban (though it clearly targets Muslim-majority countries) but it is definitely a bad idea and a policy that creates more confusion and problems than it solves.