Let’s just begin with an important reminder. President Trump is not a normal president, and though Trump certainly likes to make exceptions for himself, his status as an atypical president is nothing to be proud of.
It would be difficult to identify the absolute strangest thing about our current commander in chief, but I believe his general ignorance — whether on matters of policy, of the Constitution or otherwise — is surely a strong contender.
No other president has shown such incredible, irresponsible disregard for fact-based news. No other president has been partially defeated in court over an outrageous immigration ban only to fire the acting attorney general when she refused to defend said ban in court.
When I first saw a federal judge granted the ACLU its appeal for a temporary block of plans to deport people stranded in airports after the ban, I was relieved. When I saw that then Attorney General Sally Yates vowed, as she wrote in a letter to the Department of Justice, “to always seek justice and stand for what is right” rather than defend Trump’s executive order, I was proud.
Now a temporary attorney general — former attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana J. Boente — will replace Yates until Trump’s appointment of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, is approved. If Tuesday’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee confirms him, Yates’ opposition will no longer matter.
According to his inaugural address, Trump’s goal in all of this is to put “America first.” I can’t help but think of how selfish that notion is.
As a world power, our country has a responsibility to ensure that its political and economic decisions do not cause undue harm to others, particularly when more prudent and peaceful options are available.
Given the incredible unlikelihood of the immigration ban to accomplish its goal of saving the United States from terrorists, the fact that the ban violates Fifth Amendment due process rights in proposing to detain travelers with valid visas, and that it inhumanely ignores the plight of desperate refugees, Trump’s executive order violates the United States’ global obligations.
As a columnist, my job is to make a case for what I believe to be true. This week, that job is more difficult than ever because in opposing Trump’s immigration ban, in arguing that refugees deserve open arms instead of cold shoulders, I am making a case for compassion.
I am arguing we should care enough about other people to share your country with them in their time of need. Fleeing war and certain death, Syrian refugees look to the U.S. for safety and hope. Now we will see whether or not the government denies them.
Trump intends to do just that. There should be no confusion about the depravity of this decision, no ambiguity concerning its firm position on the wrong side of history.
I am not above begging, not when it really matters. So, I beg you to do what you can to open our country to those who need it and to oppose any future attempts to enforce the immigration ban. Call your representatives, support organizations that work with refugees, and be vigilant.
Put humanity, not the U.S., first.