Trump Muslim ban take two! Or you could call it a kinder, gentler Muslim ban. But make no mistake: It is a Muslim ban, no matter how much the Trump administration tries to wrap it in better legal reasoning, more docile language, and ribbon that screams national security.
Trump and his Muslim ban still have a huge uphill battle waiting for him simply because truth, reality, facts, his own quotes, and a country who yearns to uphold American values, are not on his side.
Let's break down the difficulties Trump will face starting immediately:
Trump's team has expanded the notion to counter that there have been attempts by nationals of these countries to hurt Americans, and some have succeeded. Fair enough. This is where actual vetting (not banning), FBI, police and intelligence work comes into play and becomes more important than ever.
And if the Trump administration's reasoning continues to be the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then the burning question is why aren't any of the countries whose citizens have perpetrated the most horrific acts of terror on our soil, part of the Muslim ban? Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan are all countries that people came from to do us harm in the U.S.
Could it be that Trump has major business dealings in these countries and he doesn't want to do anything to harm those business relationships that continue to enrich him while he is in the Oval Office? We will never know since Trump refuses to release his tax returns.
Third, Trump is on the record from many times during the campaign saying he wants a complete ban on Muslims entering the country.
This was his intent from the beginning and he cannot escape the echo of his own campaign promise that excited his base, pushing many to a frenzied anti-Muslim bias that has sadly resulted in violence and hate crimes perpetrated against Muslim citizens and those who look like they might be Muslim.
First and foremost, and incredibly damning, are the reports that intelligence analysts from Trump's own DHS agency dispute Trump's notion that these countries that are part of the ban pose a major threat to our national security. They found scant evidence that citizens from these countries are a danger to us.
In fact, DHS found that additional vetting before entry won't make us safer because most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years rather than being radicalized when they first arrive.
Second, there is still that pesky fact that, from 9/11 through today, no immigrant or refugee from the countries included in the Muslim ban has ever successfully perpetrated a terror attack on U.S. soil that resulted in any deaths of American citizens.
To put it simply, Trump's new version of the same ole' Muslim ban seeks to codify bias, discrimination, fear and hatred against Muslims, and in essence helps validate some of his supporters' anti-Muslim attitudes. You can't get more un-American than that.
Fourth, the arbitrary nature of the list of countries in the ban is underscored by the removal of Iraq from the original list. I am glad they removed Iraq and Trump realized they are our allies, but it lays bare that the Trump administration is simply using the "Obama list" of countries that it designated as needing more vetting, as an excuse and not a real reason based on national security measures.
Trump officials say that Iraq has enhanced their security procedures for vetting. That's great! But is it true? They did that in three weeks, just since the last Muslim ban?
In fact, Former DHS Deputy General Counsel Jonathan Meyer said "Taking Iraq off does harm the case for the travel ban" and "adds to the mounting evidence that this order is not based on risk-based policy-making."
Reports state Iraq lobbied hard to get off the list, and Secretary Tillerson pushed Trump to take them off, again proving the capricious reasoning behind the list of Muslim countries included in the ban.
Fifth, the ban was supposed to be a matter of extremely "urgent national security." Reince Priebus and Trump himself said the reason the first ban was done so quickly was so dangerous people could not sneak in with several days' notice.
And yet, they have waited this long. Not to get it right, but apparently so Trump could enjoy more time in the positive after-glow of his so-called "presidential" speech before Congress from last Tuesday. I guess for this administration any positive press is more important than keeping Americans safe.
Good to know where we stand.
The new Muslim ban even has a phase-in period of 10 days. Aren't they afraid some "bad hombres" will rush in?
Sixth, the Muslim ban, even though many of the courts have upheld our American values and prevented the first one from going into effect, has already had negative economic outcomes. There has since been a "devastating drop" in tourism and a 17 percent reduction in international flights to the U.S.
And last but not least, the new "and improved" Muslim ban, just like the first Muslim ban, will not increase our national security. It will do exactly the opposite.
It puts us more at risk and makes us less safe, by allowing radical terrorist groups like ISIS to point to the Muslim ban as a reason Islam should be at war with the west.
Trump's insistence on the ban gives these groups a powerful recruiting tool that increases the chances of radicalization that can come from anywhere, including (and most likely) from inside the United States.
We are not fighting terrorism with this ban. We are feeding it.
Americans deserve better. We deserve a day when the president and the administration govern with facts, live in reality, listen to the experts, understand history, are rigorous in seeking out the truth, and ultimately legislates to continue making this country great.
Sadly, that day is not today, and that president is not Donald Trump.