Donald Trump

Trump Set to Become the Stingiest Refugee President of the Modern Era

As worldwide refugee populations peak, the American president slashes numerical targets toward historic lows. Meanwhile, conservative apologists call his stance 'moderate.'

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If you consume your politics on Twitter, I am confident you have seen over the past five days such sentiments as this:

Sure, sure, the most powerful politician in the world may have broken a few eggs here and there, but did you see those rude reviews on Yelp???

National Review, unsurprisingly, has sounded some similar notes since Trump's executive order on refugees last Friday:

Note the word "but" there instead of "and," and that the only party drawing the pejorative is the critics, not the administration choosing to gratuitously disrupt the lives of up to a half-million vetted legal permanent U.S. residents (before reversing that part of the poorly drafted order, even while insisting that "all is going well with very few problems"). The subhed of the linked NRO piece, which was written by Dan McLaughlin, is: "The anger at his new policy is seriously misplaced." The erroneous first sentence within suggests one way of arriving at such a conclusion:

President Trump has ordered a temporary, 120-day halt to admitting refugees from seven countries, all of them war-torn states with majority-Muslim populations: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia.

No, the refugee ban is for everyone—Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, natural disaster victim, genocide target, seven-nation disfavorable, 180+-country undesirable, whatever: Shop's closed until Memorial Day. And the seven-country ban, which is for 90 days and not 120, includes everybody from those regions (except those with diplomatic passports), not just the subset of refugees. Since many people seem to be making the same mistake, here is the plain language from the order: "The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days." The program that has since 1980 admitted an average of 200+ refugees per day into the United States has been abruptly slammed shut for the next four months, and will be reopened at the discretion of a president who campaigned not only on a "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," but also the deportation of Syrian refugees already living legally in America. You can see why some people might not be inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this.

Which brings us to the National Review's David French, who, in a widely cited piece over the weekend, decided that the mock-worthy hysteria about the executive order came not from a power-wielding president with a long track record of misleading statements and alarmist hyperbole about the existing refugee-screening process, but rather among the people who are standing athwart Trump's draconian order yelling "stop." French, you may recall, had been for a few weird moments last spring Bill Kristol's great #NeverTrump hope, so he is hardly a reflexive supporter of the president. Judging by the intensity of the retweets on this piece, his views reflect a broad swath of modern conservatism.

So: In a piece that advertises itself as "Separating Fact from Hysteria," French characterizes Trump's move as "an executive order dominated mainly by moderate refugee restrictions." Not only does a blanket, never-been-done-before four-month refugee-stoppage—and an equally historic three-month ban of all travel from seven other countries—constitute a "moderate" move by French's lights, so does Trump's slashing of the U.S. target for refugee admittance to 50,000 a year, which is less than half of the 110,000 target Barack Obama set for this year, and also well below the 70,000-80,000 goal set every year from 2001-2015.

French has an awfully dissonant way of selling this virtuous moderation. In one breath, he says it's no big deal because Trump's target number is similar to the actual levels of refugee admittance under George W. Bush. In the next, he bitterly excoriates Barack Obama for not taking in more Syrian refugees:

The bottom line is that Trump is improving security screening and intends to admit refugees at close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama's dramatic expansion in 2016. Obama's expansion was a departure from recent norms, not Trump's contraction. […]

To recap: While the Syrian Civil War was raging, ISIS was rising, and refugees were swamping Syria's neighbors and surging into Europe, the Obama administration let in less than a trickle of refugees. Only in the closing days of his administration did President Obama reverse course — in numbers insufficient to make a dent in the overall crisis, by the way — and now the Democrats have the audacity to tweet out pictures of bleeding Syrian children? […]

There was a genocide on Obama's watch, and his tiny trickle of Syrian refugees hardly makes up for the grotesque negligence of abandoning Iraq and his years-long mishandling of the emerging Syrian crisis.

I won't take a back seat in criticizing Obama for not accepting more Syrian refugees—indeed, his secretary of state, John Kerry, had the morally obscene gall to bring up the rebuffed 1939 ship MS St. Louis as a reason to bomb Syria in 2013, at a time when the U.S. had taken in fewer than 100 refugees. But it is also true that the vetting period for refugees averages around two years, and the Syrian civil war started in 2011. French is outraged that Obama's Syrian-refugee count only crossed the four-digit threshold in 2015, as am I, but surely some of that has to do with the slow pace of screening. Unless the Trumpian "extreme vetting" translates to "extremely fast" (which seems less than likely), the new screening strictures will probably take even longer than that.

Yet French absolves Trump for his outright indefinite ban, writing "it is not necessary to bring Syrians to the United States to fulfill our vital moral obligations." And then when slamming Obama two paragraphs later, he laments, "Sadly, during the Obama administration it seems that Christians and other minorities may well have ended up in the back of the line." Who knew that having no line at all was better than having one that underrepresents Christians?

French has some to-be-sures in there, about green-card holders and U.S.-friendly interpreters and the like. But he establishes as the baseline for normalcy the 2001-2015 period of George W. Bush and Barack Obama:

Before 2016, when Obama dramatically ramped up refugee admissions, Trump's 50,000 stands roughly in between a typical year of refugee admissions in George W. Bush's two terms and a typical year in Obama's two terms.

This is not strictly accurate—pre-2016 Obama averaged 67,000 refugees a year, while 2001-2008 Bush brought in 48,000. But far more importantly, it leaves off the other presidents in the modern era, who each make Obama look like a piker: 82,000 a year for Ronald Reagan, 89,000 for Bill Clinton, 94,000 for Jimmy Carter, and an average of 119,000 refugees per year under the presidency of George H.W. Bush. French tries to paint 50,000 as some kind of reversion to the mean, but Washington has been that niggardly just four times since the fall of the Shah.

An even more puzzling omission from a piece that attempts to calm the political waters with the soothing coo of statistics is the global refugee context in which these changes are being made. In fact, Trump is ratcheting down admittance numbers precisely at a time when the global population of refugees is spiking like never before. Here's a piece last June from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:

Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency.

The report, entitled Global Trends, noted that on average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.

Between 2008-2012, according to the UNHCR, the global population of refugees was stable, at between 10.4 and 10.6 million. But then:

2013: 11.7 million

2014: 14.4 million

2015: 16.1 million

That 2015 figure was the highest since 1993, and the fifth-highest since 1975 (which marks the beginning of the modern era of U.S. refugee policy). The figures for 2016 aren't in yet, but there's every reason to believe that the sharp recent increase will continue.

It is against this backdrop that President Trump is blocking all refugees for at least four months, and slashing American targets down to levels rarely seen. When George W. Bush accepted 27,000 and 28,000 refugees in 2002 and 2003, respectively, the worldwide refugee count was 10.6 million and 9.6 million, making the percentage American haul 0.25 percent and 0.29 percent, far and away the lowest annual shares in four decades. If the refugee population this year somehow remains at its 2015 level of 16.1 million—and there's no reason to think it will be that low—Trump's 50,000 target would amount to 0.31 percent. It is entirely conceivable that Trump's presidency will accept refugees at George W. Bush's historically low raw average, at a time when the worldwide population of refugees is twice as high.

The last time the global refugee policy spiked so sharply in four years was from 1979-1982, when it increased from 6.3 million to 10.3 million. What did the U.S. do then, under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan?

1979: 111,000 refugees accepted (1.77 percent of the global population)

1980: 207,000 (2.5%)

1981: 159,000 (1.64%)

1982: 98,000 (0.95%)

You can choose to defend the executive order on any number of grounds (most of them contestable, in my view). But calling it "moderate" isn't a truth-telling act of puncturing lefty/media hyperbole, it's obfuscatory euphemism to make the medicine go down smoother. This is your long-nurtured restrictionism translated into action, conservatives. Might as well own it.

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  1. Filed in the: No Shit? department

  2. Isn’t it a WEE bit early in his presidency to be pronouncing his legacy JUST YET?!?!?

    1. Most of my left leaning friends have convinced themselves that his Presidency is half over, a quarter at the least. Impeachment, to them, seems so obvious and soon.

    2. No, its been over a week. Past time for Reason to declare him the worst, most anti-libertarian President ever.

    3. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do

      =========================== http://www.4dayjobs.com

  3. I haven’t been watching the news much lately… How many EOs has Trump written against immigrants? It’s becoming impossible to keep track.

  4. If only he’d be the most open refugee and immigrant president of all time…five minutes after becoming the stingiest president on welfare of all time.

    Because YOU CANT FUCKING BE OPEN ON BOTH AND NOT EXPECT TO ATTRACT FREE RIDERS AND FURTHER BANKRUPT OUT COUNTRY.

  5. I’m pleading with reason to write an immigration article that at least tangentially addresses the welfare system and the need to dismantle it if we are to get a real consensus on immigration in our country.

    1. Or an article that isn’t about this exact topic.

      The tally since Trump signed this EO?

      18 articles about the EO
      13 articles not about the EO (including a couple articles that are immigration-related, but not not directly about this EO)

      1. Jesus. I’d be shocked if their ratio was this high for anything since 9/11/01.

        1. In terms of what you were saying about “an immigration article that at least tangentially addresses the welfare system”, even Charles Murray now acknowledges that unrestricted low-skill immigration has a demonstrably deleterious effect on our own native-born low-skill workers.

          Wish reason were a little less hysterical right now about Trump and a little more analytical…

          1. Yes. What’s good for the market in general and for many individuals both wealthy and poor falls most disruptively on the backs of the low-skilled workers in expensive-to-live-in countries. We’re in a disruption much like Charles Dickens wrote about. I’m not sure what the government’s role in that is, but if it has one, surely it is to favor its citizens for low skill jobs over imported labor.

            Although this should maybe be separate from the refugee discussion.

            1. maybe the role of government isn’t to favor anyone.

              maybe its just about protecting rights (of which employment is NOT one).

              maybe that’s just a crazy concept on a libertarian website.

              1. Employment is a right. It’s a derived right from freedom of association and obligation of contract. You can look for a job, you can offer a job, you can agree to terms, and you can have those terms enforced. That is employment.

                What isn’t a right is slavery. You can’t force someone to work against his will and you can’t force someone to pay you against his will.

                1. “You can look for a job” — that’s not employment
                  “you can offer a job” — that’s not employment
                  “you can agree to terms” — that’s not employment
                  “and you can have those terms enforced.” — that’s not employment
                  “That is employment.” — No. It’s not

                  by your logic, because i can buy food and eat it, i have a “right to food.” this isn’t how right’s work.

                  1. Murray, you need to brush up on positive v negative rights. You have a (negative) right to both food and employment.

        2. Jesus. I’d be shocked if their ratio was this high for anything since 9/11/01.

          I think we need to poll the millennials to find out for sure.

      2. I assume that there was a contractual obligation for everyone on staff to write an article on this topic.

      3. Make that 19 now that Jacob Sullum has compiled Republican congressional criticisms of the order.

        1. *I posted a recount in that thread. My numbers were off, but not by much. It’s hard to keep an accurate count when half of the links have “#MUSLIMBAN” as the top story.

  6. David French is a vicious homophobe. He supports free speech as a cover to promote ‘anti-sodomy’ laws in Africa. (No I am not being sarcastic.)

    Also Reason – please stop taking away excuses to donate to you.

      1. So… haven’t paid your bet yet?

        1. Did he know she was a she? (Asking for a friend.)

        2. Did he know she was a she? (Asking for a friend.)

    1. Yeah, free speech is bad. We should only allow ‘correct speech’. Libertarian moment!

  7. the administration choosing to gratuitously disrupt the lives of up to a half-million vetted legal permanent U.S. residents

    lol why should libertarians care about the federal government fucking with people’s lives?

  8. The David French article was actually pretty good. It separated actual legal problems with the executive order from political issues taken with it (people continue to conflate the two).

    If Reason could bring itself to stop discussing this refugee ban, though, that would be great. I think ten articles now in the past two days is sufficient. There are other things going on in the world.

    I cannot decide if this is all virtue signaling now (I would say comparing the ban to Japanese internment camps and calling it a ‘Muslim ban’ is pretty silly and hyperbolic nonsense) or if this is really the rock that so called ‘libertarians’ want to die on (even though many don’t seem to agree with the dream of ‘open borders’).

    No doubt there were issues to be taken with this executive order. Some of the more egregious have already been resolved (the fact that legal permanent residents were being banned from reentry). But, can you just get off it, now?

    I think I’ll just start reading National Review instead. At least they offer measured criticism and don’t harp on the same topic over, and over, and over, and over again.

    1. (I would say comparing the ban to Japanese internment camps and calling it a ‘Muslim ban’ is pretty silly and hyperbolic nonsense)

      Don’t tell that to Stan Van Gundy.

      1. “We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews

        Scary stuff!

        1. “Christ, what an asshole.”

    2. There has already been an American President who put American citizens in concentration camps.

      Liberal Democrat and progressive icon Franklin Roosevelt.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9066

      The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it always turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

  9. *holds bleeding side*

    Et tu, Matt Welch?

    *dies*

  10. I like the idea of “Stingy” in a President.

  11. Isnt green cards now exempt per dhs and if you are already here why would you be affected?

    Would be nice if the reason writers can exactly spell out details and what they mean…instead of being lazy and lumping it all in as one.

    Break it down and what changes have been made. Stop regurgitating things that are no longer accurate

    1. But they weren’t excluded in some cases for, like, two days or something, so it must be brought up in every single article on this subject, forever.

      1. If only there were some way to quickly move past articles (or comments) you don’t want to read. Seems like there would be demand for such a thing.

  12. So, let me ask, is the Reason editorial policy that the U.S. should admit all comers with no screening or vetting?

    I’m saying this because, taken at face value, that’s what all the hysteria here is sounding like.

    And more to the point, I recall a lot of the authors here explicitly complaining that Trump’s campaign proposal of a Muslim ban was a terrible idea and that a sensible policy would focus on threats and vetting. Well, for the countries we’re talking about, vetting isn’t possible. And I recall a lot of people even here differentiating ourselves from the Trump supporters saying that of course we wouldn’t allow people into the country we couldn’t vet. Why should I join in on moving those goal posts.

    1. From what I have seen from Reason is that any potential hurdle to immigration may be deemed reasonable for the sake of argument until it may actually be implemented, then it is xenophobic.

    2. Not only that, but apparently we have to pay for them to come here. Because libertarian.

    3. This.

      What is the justification for taking in refugees? If we are obligated to do so, and support them once they get here, from whence comes this obligation?

  13. And the seven-country ban, which is for 90 days and not 120, includes everybody from those regions (except those with diplomatic passports), not just the subset of refugees.

    “The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.” The program that has since 1980 admitted an average of 200+ refugees per day into the United States has been abruptly slammed shut for the next four month

    What am I missing here?

    1. The refugee program is suspended, period. The refugee program suspension has nothing to do with the seven-country list.

      The seven-country list bans everyone, not just refugees.

      1. I thought green card holders were now ok. What about immigrant visas?

        1. An immigrant visa is issued overseas and is valid for six months.

          When the person holding the immigrant visa arrives in the country for the first, they become permanent residents at that instant and the immigrant visa becomes moot. The government mails permanent resident cards to the immigrants within 2 – 3 weeks and they use that document in the future.

  14. When El Torro submits to the same bureaucracies as Bob Smith you’ll have a crack at baseline reforms.

    Governing frameworks adapted to fit the unique demands of illegals or refugees while ignoring for decades the citizen voice indicates a serious flaw in the institutional matrix.

  15. No, the refugee ban is for everyone

    WalMart needs those workers now, dammit!

    More seriously, what is this “moral obligation” we supposedly have to take anyone? If they’re fleeing our bombs, OK… but other than that, I’m not seeing it. Could it be that the upping the refugee count is a matter of optics…?

    1. oops: WalMart Starbucks

    2. A lot of the anti-immigration crew talks about “importing” immigrants. Which for the most part is not an accurate description of what is going on. But in the case of refugees, that is what we are doing. And I don’t really see that we are obliged to do that, except maybe in cases where the US is directly responsible for their misery.

      1. I would think that importing people that you’ve badly wronged would be about the worst immigration policy.

  16. So Trump is being stingy with taxpayer dollars which fund the refugee program.

    And SJW cosmopolitan Reason is upset he is not spending more tax dollars.

    1. So Trump is being stingy with taxpayer dollars which fund the refugee program.

      Trump is quite the miser.

  17. Id be cool with it if the politicians causing the problems would take them into their own homes and hollywood celebs

  18. “This is your long-nurtured restrictionism translated into action, conservatives. Might as well own it.”

    The question hardly seems to get much attention, but excluding the bit applying to current green card holders, I suspect Trump’s executive order is much more popular with average Americans than people in the . . . um . . . elitist media are willing to recognize.

    I know the media already thinks voting for Trump itself was an act of extremism, but is it extreme to think that democracy might have an appropriate place in setting refugee resettlement policy?

    1. Some polling on this issue before the EO showed a solid majority supporting what he’s done (broadly speaking – the green card thing wasn’t separately polled, because really?), and a third opposing.

  19. Is there a reason that the US must needs accept a high number of refugees, no matter what the conflict in question or what type of neighbors these refugees will be? Why would the merits of a President be determined by what they do for an international refugee population that they had no hand in creating, as opposed to what they do for the citizen population which elected them to high office?

    Also, as I recall, libertarians are not overly fond of public assistance — and if the refugee program is anything, it’s enormously government-managed and part and parcel of the welfare-warfare state. Maybe the magical market fairy would somehow make these penniless (and largely economically valueless) refugees miraculously afford the enormous costs associated with refugee travel today, but it’s very possible that the number of refugees would drop under a libertarian system. If nothing else, it certainly wouldn’t look like the SWPL noblesse oblige that is characterizing the response to Trump’s policy. That’s not a failing; it’s life and it’s fucking ridiculous to see Reason hop on board this false outrage in defense of a failed government program.

    1. Is there a reason that the US must needs accept a high number of refugees

      Yes. Doing otherwise would make us look stingy – it says so above.

  20. Hey Matt,

    I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but dang, son… you are doing some powerful projecting here. And I’m on your side…

    Refugee Madness: Trump Is Wrong, But His Liberal Critics Are Crazy

    To which you say

    Note the word “but” there instead of “and,” and that the only party drawing the pejorative is the critics, not the administration

    Er… they say he is wrong. Full stop. No qualifiers.

    Then they say the critics are crazy. As in, this guy is wrong in his policy, but you guys opposing him have gone full-tard. And you never go full tard.

    There is really nothing to complain about there. They are correct in their assessment of Trump’s policy and its implementation. They are also correct that the left has lost their minds.

    Trump not only got the policy wrong…. he fumbled the implementation horribly. But that doesn’t mean that his critics aren’t full on nuts. The enemy of my enemy might somehow work out to be my friend. Or, they might turn out to be more of an ally to my enemy…. like the #BLM crowd who seem to have permanently derailed the law enforcement reform movement by attaching everything under the sun to racism.

    Crazy can be the enemy of a good counter argument, just as seeking perfection can be the enemy of the good.

    1. They are correct in their assessment of Trump’s policy and its implementation.

      Well, except for the part where they give a literally incorrect description of the policy, of course.

  21. The refugee scam is a scam and Trump is eating your lunch on this, Reason.

    1. Spending US tax dollars to import people into the US = Freedom according to Reason

  22. French, you may recall, had been for a few weird moments last spring Bill Kristol’s great #NeverTrump hope

    Thanks for the reminder of this great moment in unintentional comedy:

    Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.

  23. Wow. Welch and I are like opposite libertarians. He’s a strong NATO, free immigration guy, and I’m a weak alliance, strong sovereignty guy. That said, why are we arguing about whether the President should loosen or strengthen border controls rather than fighting the actual libertarian fight about how Congress should give clear limits on the executive power in this case, as well as about 99% of the other executive orders that have been reported. The only one that comes to mind that is definitely within the Presidential sphere is the order to executive agencies about identifying two regulations to cut for each one proposed. At least that is directing executive branch employees on how that branch should be run.

  24. I’ll just re-link to my comment yesterday, which sort of beat Matt to the whole “numbers game” thing

    in short – i don’t think its actually intellectually honest to play the “US refugee intake” as a % of some global total”-game. It would suggest that our policy should be beholden to the annual statistical estimates of some international organization rather than something controlled by the political process US citizens have control over

    ….. US citizens which (also noted yesterday) haven’t traditionally been super-keen on the topic

    I think comparing our annual intake #s to our own historical averages DOES make sense. And by those measures, somewhere between 50,000 on the lower end and 75,000 on the higher end is what would be called “Normal”

    Basically, matt’s case is that “more refugees” out in the RoW morally obligates higher intake from the US.

    Which again ignores that whole “US citizens having a political voice” part. And its not like this subject wasn’t front and center in the recent election. People were provided an option of a “more refugees” candidate, and they chose otherwise. We can bemoan that, and wish it were otherwise, but the fact is that the person elected is simply delivering on what voters wanted.

    1. And by those measures, somewhere between 50,000 on the lower end and 75,000 on the higher end is what would be called “Normal”

      Laughably false. Did you read the post?

      1. or, if you’re too lazy to read my own review of the data yesterday, Matt basically points out the same when he says =

        pre-2016 Obama averaged 67,000 refugees a year, while 2001-2008 Bush brought in 48,000

        iow, the last 15 years averaged between 50-70k per annum, irrespective of “targets” which may have been higher.

        go back to the Clinton years and if you neutralize the burst of refugees from former soviet states in his first term, those same # persist back to the mid 1990s.

        you could quibble and say that “70” is a better long term moving average if you include the 1980s as well, but then you’re getting into the weeds and ignoring the point that it still doesn’t make 50 unusually low, which is matt’s contention. It would change the gripe from “Trump is the worst ever!!” to, “Trump is (sort of) lower than Average!!” which certainly has less rhetorical effect.

    2. The numbers game is theater – and I think a lot of people are getting sick of theater.

    3. I don’t really care about any of the numbers. The only relevant question for any immigrant under any program is “will our society be better off if they become full members.” Immigration policy does not exist to benefit other countries, and exists only to benefit the immigrants incidentally. Its fundamental purpose is to serve the interests of the the US and its citizens.

      Which is not an easy question to parse out, especially since so many no longer really believe that US policy should benefit the US and spend a lot of energy making sure that information that would illuminate that question is either nonexistent or hopelessly garbled.

      1. “Its fundamental purpose is to serve the interests of the the US and its citizens.”

        Might that be considered question begging? Many companies are asking for more immigrants, for example. The company I work for (manufacturing) can keep our plants filled with enough low skilled labor. I think determining collective interests is a challenge to say the least.

  25. more people need to read Dilbertblog, and then read some of Trump’s books. Scott Adams has been calling this day after day and being proven correct.

    He’s not incompetent, nor is he a mad genius. He negotiates by pushing a severe line, then compromising to a more balanced approach. This is a perfect foil for the raging left, who have been overreacting to a balanced approach for two decades.
    Propose something rational, yet conservative in nature, and “the world is ending…HITLER”! The left pulls the middle in their direction portraying the right as crazy and out of touch.
    Propose something outlandish and Trump gets the exact same reaction from the left. But now, when he compromises, he appeases the middle, leaving the left looking like loons.

    With all the foaming at the mouth, what is left for the far more important SCOTUS nominee this evening?

    1. I can believe this is what happened in this case if it’s true about the green card holders now being exempt. He got a lot of people to concede his policy was good as long as it didn’t effect those guys, and now they don’t really have a leg to stand on.

    2. Except Executive Orders are not negotiating positions. They are orders, not offers. If he can’t tell the difference then he really is a two-year-old in a grown man’s body.

      1. Do you not understand what the “temporary” aspect of the EO implies?

      2. Except Executive Orders are not negotiating positions.

        They set the (new?) status quo, which is always a negotiating position.

  26. Could it be that Trump purposefully bungled the EO to force Congress to do man-up on the issue?

    Could Trump just be anchoring to an extreme position in this “negotiation” and letting the compromise be sorted out through legislation and litigation?

    Could some of this be a distraction from his more desired goals?

    1. Could it be that Trump purposefully bungled the EO to force Congress to do man-up on the issue?

      No.

      Could Trump just be anchoring to an extreme position in this “negotiation” and letting the compromise be sorted out through legislation and litigation?

      Maybe.

      Could some of this be a distraction from his more desired goals?

      No.

      1. Trump is playing 7th dimension chess and you cuckers can’t even keep up. Sad!

        1. Keeping your campaign promises does seem like a novel and revolutionary strategy to elitists these days.

          The elitists wonder what he’s really trying to do!

  27. just for the sake of discussion – this is something posted in a previous thread when someone else was moaning about how “unlibertarian” everyone here is…

    i think there’s a difference between,

    The principle of the Free Movement of Labor“, which is a libertarian concept

    and

    Open Borders” as it exists in practice, which isn’t

    The principle distinction being that the former does not necessarily require the latter.

    European countries, when they formed the EU, did not entirely dissolve their own border enforcement infrastructure and simply throw up their hands and stop checking people’s passports. They agreed on free movement of labor between their states, which required identifying who was actually a participating member in those agreements (citizens of member states)

    The libertarian concept of free movement of labor doesn’t *only* exist in a world with “zero border enforcement”, any more than a libertarian would demand that “free markets” can only be 100% unregulated, and any single regulatory mechanism instantly makes it ‘unfree’.

    Most libertarians would argue for a “Free(r)” economy that still retained some minor regulatory structures and call it an improvement over the status quo. But the attitude re: Borders seems very different, where we are barred from debating “improvements” to the status quo because ‘any regulations at all are too many/too much” and therefore verbotten.

    1. +1 gun grabber

      1. Actually that’s a pretty good comparison, tho i doubt you realized why

        Most people who agitate against the current gun-regulatory-state and demand its dissolution on constitutional grounds will appeal to very purist rhetoric on the inviolability of the 2nd amendment.

        but when the grabbers say things, “but what about Bazookas! Should every home also have its own anti-aircraft weapons?!?”….. most people call them ridiculous, because while in theory, “sure”, the purist reading of the law SHOULD include that at more….

        …that’s still not really what people are agitating for. what they DO want is the dissolution of the existing NFA regime; not the dissolution of “destructive devices” legislation which covers bazookas and bombs and cannons.

        So you’re wrong in pretending that gun-rights advocates are a neat parallel with purist Open Borders types.

        The rhetoric might seem similar, but the reality is far closer to my original point = that the practical libertarian demand is Pro-“Movement of Labor”, not a total dissolution of border controls based on principle sans any consideration of its impacts.

    2. Open borders means that people can move across the border at a check point after showing ID. The ID confirms who they are, that they aren’t convicted felons, have various immunizations, and, effectively, that they aren’t a threat to the rights and freedoms of the American people.

      “A policy of borders without visas would in fact be more restrictive and formal than the system that applied through much of American history because it would depend on proper identification — either a passport or some other recognized papers — to cross from one country into the other.”

      . . . .

      Free movement would be more secure than our current system, removing Mexican workers’ incentive to swim across the Rio Grande and allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to track everybody who’s entering the country legitimately, with 100% assurance that anybody who crosses the border in secret is up to no good.

      “No border, No Problem”

      —-Tim Cavanaugh, LA Times

      Open borders also means that the people who are rejected at the border because they are deemed to be a threat to our rights–can be kept out of the country. In this sense, the benefits of having an open border depend, to some extent, on being able to keep people out of the country.

      So, anyway, when people are talking about “open borders”, it’s important to distinguish between what that straw man has come to mean in a lot of people’s minds and what open borders advocates are really talking about.

      1. This time with the link!

        http://articles.latimes.com/20…..avanaugh23

      2. We’re not talking about refugees being free to come here without a visa.

        I’m talking about a treaty between the U.S. and Mexico or U.S. policy specifically in regards to Mexico.

      3. when people are talking about “open borders”, it’s important to distinguish between what that straw man has come to mean in a lot of people’s minds and what open borders advocates are really talking about.

        that’s nice and all, and sounds just as appealing (and misleading) as when modern feminists insist “We’re just demanding equality!”

        but i’m not sure that your characterization is 100% inclusive of everyone involved in the debate about immigration

        In particular, what i mean are the people who argue that “open borders” means “never deporting anyone” for illegal entry ;

        i think what you proposed re: “open borders” is consistent with what I would want – basically a ‘minarchist’ border-control.

        But what do you call people like Shikha who think kicking border-hoppers back to Mexico is ‘anathema to libertarian beliefs’ etc?

        You can say those aren’t the *real* open-borders advocates… but those people do exist.

        The point isn’t to argue over some theoretical ideal, but deal with what changes to the status quo are desirable. Many argue that any reforms that have even superficial aspects of “security” (a la “The Wall”) are unacceptable in principle.

        1. “But what do you call people like Shikha who think kicking border-hoppers back to Mexico is ‘anathema to libertarian beliefs’ etc?”

          I think there are principled anarcho-capitalists who don’t think the government should ever deport anybody, but I don’t think Shikha Dalmia is one of those.

          I think Shikha Dalmia is logically vulnerable on the issue of immigration. I’m not sure she’s capable of being objective on the issue. Has she ever seen merit in any argument that might be used against open immigration?

          I don’t think Dalmia represents a position that needs to be addressed so much as she represents an attitude or a bias. Take her arguments on a case by case basis.

          1. I don’t think Dalmia represents a position that needs to be addressed

            yeah, that was sort of my point = you can’t really declare that “REAL open borders advocates” believe X (where X is narrowly defined), and all those other people out there making “there’s no such thing as an Illegal Immigrant”-arguments, often using terms like ‘open borders’, are simply irrelevant.

            1. Perhaps, but I wouldn’t say those are your typical open borders advocates either.

              Your typical open borders person isn’t like Dalmia.

              They think Mexican citizens should be free to come here in search of work, for shopping, tourism, etc., and should be free to go back and forth across the border freely so long as they’re here for peaceful reasons.

              In other words, some open borders people might be like Dalmia, but I do not believe Dalmia is typical of open borders people. . . . and yet open borders people like me (and Cavanaugh) are often mistaken for being like Dalmia.

              That open borders means cartels, terrorists, and foreign armies can come back and forth across our borders without even so much as an ID check is a common misconception.

              1. i think we need to stop before i call you obtuse.

                1. The observation that while some open borders people may be like Dalmia, Dalmia is not typical of open borders people is not obtuse–not in response to what you wrote or in any other way.

          2. anyway, all of this is sort of getting away from the actual argument i made above,=

            which is that there’s actually genuine difference between the Libertarian Principle of “Free movement of labor”

            (which does not by-definition preclude ANY form of border-security or regulatory controls)…

            …and the assumed “open borders” stance

            (which includes a wide range of postures, including everything from your nice-sounding POV, to Matt’s own case here for the moral-obligation to endlessly increase refugee intake, to Shika’s “hug a wetback” rhetoric, etc)

            I think the EU provides a working example of how “Free movement of labor” is entirely consistent with a modern state that retains most if not all of its own border control mechanisms. the issue is less their existence, and whether they’re working as intended or not.

        2. “The point isn’t to argue over some theoretical ideal, but deal with what changes to the status quo are desirable.”

          The open borders position I outlined above (and quoted Cavanaugh on) wasn’t a theoretical ideal, really. That’s more or less the way Americans travel into Mexico. That’s the way EU citizens go back and forth within the European Union.

          I showed ID going into Mexico at the border. They gave me a visa good for six months. Every six months, you have to cross the border and come back–so they can run your passport again. That’s not a theoretical ideal. That’s my experience.

          1. obviously what people describe as the “problem” ken, is not US citizens going back and forth across the border, but rather the millions of Latin-Americans who have evaded the system, whether it was bare-minimum or not.

            and again – most of this is sort of besides the point i was making about about what the “libertarian” position really requires. i don’t think either you or I need convincing on that.

            1. “obviously what people describe as the “problem” ken, is not US citizens going back and forth across the border, but rather the millions of Latin-Americans who have evaded the system”

              People going back and forth across the border at will simply by showing an ID is not a theoretical ideal. It happens in real life.

              I think we should stop now before I call you obtuse.

      4. Open borders means that people can move across the border at a check point after showing ID. The ID confirms who they are, that they aren’t convicted felons, have various immunizations, and, effectively, that they aren’t a threat to the rights and freedoms of the American people.

        So, either not really open borders, or we have open borders now.

        1. Mexican citizens cannot come across a border checkpoint without a visa merely by showing a passport or ID. That is not the way things are now.

          And open borders is that.

        2. Actually, an ID does none of the following:

          The ID confirms . . . that they aren’t convicted felons, have various immunizations, and, effectively, that they aren’t a threat to the rights and freedoms of the American people.

          1. Not yet.

            The point is that the Mexican government would need to develop such an ID. Incidentally, I suspect the relative freedom with which Americans can move around the world isn’t completely unrelated to the reliability of our ID system. If you have an American passport, there’s a reasonable expectation from a security perspective that you are who your passport says you are.

            It might be a database that’s up to our standards that we can verify independently, too. All of this would ideally be addressed by a treaty with Mexico.

            Regardless, we’re still talking about letting people cross the border at will contingent on an ID that will allow us to exclude those who have been convicted of a felony, aren’t immunized against certain diseases, or are a threat to American security in other ways. That’s an open border. So long as you’re not an obvious security threat, you can come here for whatever reason you want by going through a checkpoint. You can go back and forth across the border at will.

  28. I would understand Reason staff’s reactions to Trump’s executive order better if it were obviously in violation of the First Amendment. However, it takes pains to avoid violating the First Amendment–never mentioning any religion specifically and only reaffirming that minority status will be considered in asylum claims as U.S. and international law effectively requires in cases of religious persecution.

    If Trump’s executive order violated the First Amendment’s prohibition against government discrimination on the basis of religion, I would oppose it for that reason alone, but it doesn’t do that.

    I know there are plenty of Trump supporters who think the government should discriminate against Muslims, and many of them support this executive order because they see it as doing that, and I suspect it’s this realization that’s driving Reason staff to oppose the executive order. It’s like they’re using Trump as a whipping boy for the First Amendment sins of the masses. I see the temptation to do that myself.

    But the executive order itself is not in violation of the First Amendment.

  29. PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE TROLL.

    1. Come on, Welch is not that bad…

  30. Matt, put down the cocktail and pull out YOUR checkbook.

  31. Trump’s an idiot, but if he can manage to quit creating more refugees in the first place like Washington tends to do, then I’ll consider it a net positive.

  32. Judging by the intensity of the retweets on this piece, his views reflect a broad swath of modern conservatism.

    Journalism, muthafuckas!

  33. “Trump is ratcheting down admittance numbers precisely at a time when the global population of refugees is spiking like never before.”

    Not an objection so much as a perhaps minor observation: I would expect there to be an inverse relationship between the size of the global refugee population and the willingness of potential host countries’ voters to welcome them. If there is only a handful of refugees, the idea of taking them in is probably less threatening to the average American (or German, or whoever). When there is a huge population of them, I would expect the average Joe to think “Whoa, look at ’em all! There’s no room here for them! Better keep ’em out.”

    So, if you think Trump is acting in accord with voters’ wishes, or at least HIS voters’ wishes, then you might expect him to take in fewer people rather than more.

    Again, not an argument one way or the other. Just seems like human nature to me.

  34. “French tries to paint 50,000 as some kind of reversion to the mean, but Washington has been that niggardly just four times since the fall of the Shah.”

    You’re saying Trump is a niggard?

  35. Matt,

    If you think it is the US’s duty to accept refugees from any country with problems, don’t be surprised or complain when the American public is more willing to intervene to fix the problems in these counties. Demanding the US accept refugees creates a very large reason for the public to care about what is happening around the world and to support various schemes for the US to intervene and play global policeman. If the US doesn’t accept refugees and the cost that comes with doing so, it has a lot less reason to be interested in the affairs of other countries.

  36. “Sure, sure, the most powerful politician in the world may have broken a few eggs here and there, but did you see those rude reviews on Yelp???

    This part of the story caught my attention because I though it said nude reviews.

    Otherwise, nice job using actual facts and whatnot to argue against the right’s spin. Not seeing so much of a commitment to accuracy when it comes to covering the hysterical spin from the left though.

  37. “don’t be surprised or complain when the American public is more willing to intervene to fix the problems in these counties. ”

    I think the fiasco in Libya cured America of this desire to intervene in all these countries.

  38. What if we went back further than 2001?

    This is no different than spending a record-setting amount of money each year and then using it as the new baseline for all future spending. In a country that brings in over a million new legal immigrants every year and a couple hundred thousand illegal ones besides, a difference of 50,000 refugees is analogous to “cut foreign aid” in a spending debate – the type of thing that Reason would otherwise pooh pooh as a senseless waste of time.

  39. Man that Trump is such a jerk, I mean I want him to spend my tax dollars on refugees. It is important to me that some fighting age male from the middle east gets set up here in the good ole US like he is on holiday while his country goes to hell. Why should he fight for his country when we can send one of our fellow countrymen to die. I am gonna donate 2 cents to the Reason fund for this wonderful article. I am sure all those authors at Reason are willing to put some of these guys in their homes with their women and children.

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  41. good fuck refugees. Let them unfuck their country we have enough problems

  42. No, the refugee ban is for everyone?Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, natural disaster victim, genocide target, seven-nation disfavorable, 180+-country undesirable, whatever: Shop’s closed until Memorial Day. And the seven-country ban, which is for 90 days and not 120, includes everybody from those regions (except those with diplomatic passports), not just the subset of refugees. Since many people seem to be making the same mistake, here is the plain language from the order: “The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.” The program that has since 1980 admitted an average of 200+ refugees per day into the United States has been abruptly slammed shut for the next four months, ????? ???? ???
    ????? ???? 2017 and will be reopened at the discretion of a president who campaigned not only on a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” but also the deportation of Syrian refugees already living legally in America. You can see why some people might not be inclined to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this.

  43. For probably 30 years I’ve registered as a Libertarian in Maricopa County, AZ.

    But I’ve had it.

    If being a Libertarian means allowing my country to be overrun with a hostile population that doesn’t want anything remotely Libertarian then I will no longer pretend that my registering Libertarian is actually supporting a philosophy that I want to be associated with.

  44. Well, you have to add the 11 million illegals to our “refugee population”; once you do, we don’t look so stingy anymore.

    In fact, the US has a pretty high percentage of non-citizens in the country, larger than most Western nations.

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  46. As worldwide refugee populations peak, the American president slashes numerical targets toward historic lows. Meanwhile, conservative apologists call his stance ‘moderate.’

    What so hard to understand about “voters don’t want large numbers of refugees”?

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