Donald Trump wants to bring back the failed Bush-era Muslim database called NSEERS, and here’s the executive order to prove it. The Obama Administration recently removed many of the policies and federal rules that Trump would need to immediately implement a Muslim registry, as needless, redundant or obsolete – so there’s no switch to flip.
However, it’s the most important step in the process to begin building another ineffective government watch list to harass people on the basis of their religion and breed global ill will towards America’s newfound religious intolerance.
Sadly, that’s not even the worst or most dangerous part of the Trump regime’s latest proposed decree, which also calls for a ban on Syrian refugees and will probably send the men and women of the US Armed Forces into harm’s way to create “safe zones” inside Syria.
With the stroke of a pen and no intelligence briefings, Trump is set to continue the exact same failed policies of George W. Bush and put boots on the ground in a Middle Eastern country against whom Congress has not declared war.
The Trump White House’s latest order would cap worldwide refugee intake at 50,000 people, would stop all immigration from a group of Muslim majority countries Iraq (our ally), Iran, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, and invite Trump’s new Cabinet to randomly recommend more countries without any criteria whatsoever.
On its face, this decision seems to set up the ability for the Trump regime to punish any foreign country with which it disagrees by using a terrorist watch list mechanism to hassle their citizens doing business here or traveling to the United States as tourists (China comes to mind as a possible example of a nation that could be frivolously targeted).
He will also be instituting a tracking system to monitor those entering and leaving the United States.
Like you might expect from Republican President, there’s also a dose of massive hypocrisy like a cherry on top of this order. The order directs four federal agencies to devise a new system to catch foreign persons entering the United States on a fraudulent basis, like his wife Melania Trump did in the 1990s by obtaining a tourist visa and then working here illegally.
In another ironic twist of classic Republican hypocrisy, Trump’s order would also vastly expand the federal workforce – which a different Executive Order just froze, under the laughably false pretense that federal employment has expanded – by directing the Secretary of State to “immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program.” That means it will be far more difficult for anyone to enter the US, and many countries will retaliate to make it more difficult for Americans to travel, as happened after 9/11 when the Bush Administration tightened travel rules unilaterally. Also, the order directs the Secretary of State “immediately expand the Consular Fellows Program” and to even start training people in foreign languages they don’t yet know to send them into the field to conduct virtually useless interviews by the thousands all over the world.
Trump’s new executive order finishes with adding a new reporting requirement by the Department of Homeland Security to frequently publish statistics about a range of crimes committed or suspected by “foreign-born individuals” which the Trump regime wishes to use for propaganda purposes.
The Trump regime is working overtime to produce infuriating executive orders that impose burdens on millions of people in the name of religious discrimination and xenophobia. Even worse, he’s spending a lot of time reviving the failed policies of Republican President George W. Bush, and that can’t be what even most Trump voters thought they were going to get on election day.
There’s no silver lining in this action. Donald Trump is going to harm America’s interests early in his presidency once this order is official. He is a disgrace to our nation and the values we hold dear.
Here’s an annotated copy of the order and the original is below:
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition