Tuesday, June 06, 2017

90 days. 120 days. 131 days.

Donald Trump's original travel ban was an executive order signed 131 days ago, on January 27.

It, and a follow-on order, sought to suspend for 90 days entry into the U.S. of persons from  seven predominately Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq (later revised), Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It suspended entry of refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.

These suspensions were ostensibly to allow time to review the process by which the U.S. vets travelers and refugees entering the U.S.

It was always unclear why the suspensions were necessary. Experts say the U.S. already practices very extensive vettingmuch more extensive, for example, than other western countries. The process of getting approval to enter the U.S. can take two years. By the standards of the international community, the U.S. arguably already practices the "extreme vetting" Trump claims to want.

Further, it was never clear why there needed to be a suspension while the review was being conducted. Nobody had ever claimed there were obvious problems with the existing system, so there's no reason a review couldn't be conducted while existing policy remained in effect. A review, if conducted in good faith, was always reasonable, but the concurrent suspensions were gratuitous.

Trump's travel bans have been blocked by a variety of federal courts: district courts in Washington and Hawaii, for example, and most recently the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia on May 25. We are still awaiting a decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to intervene immediately.

But we have to assume, do we not, that as all of this has been playing out in the courts, the administration has been busy conducting its review of existing policy. If it hasn't, it has been committing egregious security malpractice according to its own standards of urgent necessity.

The 120-day clock began ticking on January 27, the date of the original order. 131 days have now passed 11 days more than the original travel ban requested for travel suspension. Thus the administration has had more time than it had allocated to complete its review, identify shortcomings, and propose remedies. By the administration's own timeline, the need for suspensions has expired.


Copyright (C) 2017 James Michael Brennan, All Rights Reserved

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