Let me first start by noting that I have spoken to Joshua Riley since he was involved in the Democrat Party nomination of a candidate for the New York 22nd congressional seat in 2015. Mr. Riley has always struck me as a thoughtful individual, who considers the positions he takes. That said, the recent commentary published on July 2nd via the Press and Sun has given me pause.
Mr. Riley proffers the thought that the immigration ban by the Trump Administration is unpleasant, illegal and unconstitutional. He makes this argument based on 3 points. The first is that the Executive Order is unconstitutional, the second is that federal law is violated, and the third that America is endangered by the Executive Order. While these views may be popular among Democrats and extreme elements of the Left-Wing, they are also incorrect in my opinion.
Addressing the first point, Mr. Riley uses a slippery slope to claim that an immigration ban is a ban on religion and religious freedom. This is directly false. The immigration ban has absolutely no effect on the religious practices of Americans anywhere in the world. The First Amendment does not apply, and those using this argument are well aware of that fact.
While there is no question that the nations targeted in the ban do have primarily Muslim populations, the ban does not restrict Muslims as a religious group nor promotes immigration of individuals of other religions. Christians and Jews found in Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the other nations in the ban are not treated as a separate category of immigrant. The ban applies to all people of these nations, based on the criteria determined under the Obama Administration as to limited background checks, lack of co-operation of the governments of these nations, and the clear and present threat of infiltration by agents of terrorism as publicly promised by terrorist organizations in these countries.
Further, while some political organizations would like to use religious freedom, a cause otherwise shunned and rejected by these groups (consider the religious objections of Hobby Lobby and Catholic schools vs Obamacare), as grounds of lifting the immigration ban it fails as an objection. Muslims in other parts of the world are not restricted from the ban. A German or Japanese or Swedish Muslim are free to legally emigrate to America.
If this is true of the 133 other nations in the world, and it is, then religion by itself is not the cause of the restriction. What is the cause? A defined and concentrated existence of terrorist organizations that have publicly declared and taken actions to kill people of any and every nationality and religion that do not adhere to their narrow and myopic vision of religious belief. The only religious intolerance on display is from the terrorist groups themselves. The only restriction is potential terrorists being denied the opportunity to infiltrate America due to a lack of credible security checks.
The second point noted by Mr. Riley is a claim that Federal Law is being violated. Once again, this is a false reading of law. Mr. Riley cites the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act as his justification. But the Act does not restrict the quotas used by every Administration, including the Obama Administration, in the 42 years since it was enacted. Further, Mr. Riley ignores H.R. 2029, passed by President Obama, which added more restrictions and exclusions – specifically on several of the nations in the Trump Administration ban.
And of course, Mr. Riley completely ignores Title 8 of US Code section 1182. This allows a President to deny immigration to any persons. It was used by President Carter to deny immigration of, deport, and ban Iranians in the 1980’s. The constitutionality of that action was not questioned. That same exact power remains intact for the Executive Branch and President Trump today.
The final reason given by Mr. Riley to object to the immigration ban, is that this increases the danger to America. This is perhaps the weakest and least credible part of his argument. It is a conjecture created and spread by those in opposition to the ban, without any proof of their claim.
What can be said and proven is that since the 1970’s fanatical Islamic elements of several nations and especially Iran have sworn to kill every American and destroy the nation. This desire to wipe America off the face of the earth is not dependent on the race, religion, or sexual preference of any individual or group of Americans. It is not dependent on the political leader of the nation, nor political system of our government.
The proclaimed desire to kill America, and her people, is rooted in the fact that our nation demands and ensures religious freedom and enables the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which conflicts with the narrow and inflexible interpretation of Islam. Given that root cause, how is any action capable of making interactions worse? How can fanatical terrorists, willing to kill family members, children and infants via suicide bombs and other acts, dedicated to committing wholesale genocide and eradication of a nation solely because of the belief in religious tolerance, be goaded into being even more homicidal? How is it even possible for such groups and their supporters to be more dangerous than their doctrine demands already?
It is only the wishful thinking of certain political groups, without regard to the consistent and persistent declarations of fanatical Islamist groups and nations, that a change in persons holding the Oval Office or political international policy will change this religious mindset. To put this into perspective with clarity, the thinking that promotes the concept that policy change will improve relations with radical fanatical Islamic terrorists and nations promoting terror is akin to saying that since children are innocent suicide bombs won’t kill them. The statement, and mindset behind it, is both ludicrous and offensive at every level.
While I understand that Mr. Riley does not like the Immigration Ban, it does not create nor magnify a danger to the United States. His personal distaste for the Executive Order does not cause it to overstep the bounds of Executive Power, nor exceed the precedence created by Presidents prior. Most of all, this ban does not impede any American’s religious freedom, nor does it dictate the religious preferences of non-Americans in nations across the globe. The lack of popularity among segments of the nation, or even the world, is not a valid reason for the Supreme Court to uphold or reject a law or Executive Order.