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Refugee Rhubarb is Political and Policy Mistake


The Trump administration continues to march on with decisive action designed to meet campaign promises.  With decisiveness, however, sometimes comes disaster.  President Trump’s Executive Order on refugees and its related travel ban represent a bold move … poorly planned and poorly executed.   The right of the United States to end refugee programs, freeze them, or to stop any refugee from obtaining status in the country is nearly absolute.  Those who argue that non-resident, non-citizen refugees have some international law or Constitutional claim for legal status in the United States are wrong on every legal front.  However, while the right to change policy may be absolute, that doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it politically smart if not executed properly. This plan has all the elements of political misstep born of an order that was not well-conceived and whose execution was without planning.

The President has handed his political enemies great ammunition with the signing of this Order and the manner in which it went operational.  These enemies include the hard left who will always oppose him, as they now try to topple his presidency.  However, it hands to the irresponsible in our country a message they can carry to the masses that sounds mean, racist, discriminatory, and incompetent.  In some cases, otherwise mainstream media outlets like Bloomberg are running stories suggesting, almost preposterously, that the immigration ban was based on companies and countries in which Mr. Trump’s companies do business.  This is foolish, a lie, and a purposeful deceit designed to delegitimize Mr. Trump.  Nonetheless, the Trump administration leaked the memo, let Bloomberg create the narrative, and left itself subject to such patently false stories because it failed to bring the case for this Executive Order to the American people.

Today, as I write, green-card holders, business travelers, parents, friends, long-lost relatives, US army allies and contractors, and yes, refugees are stuck in various airports internationally, and as close as 8 miles from my house in Virginia because of the way team Trump implemented the Order.  This is how presidential advisors lose their jobs and how Presidents hand political victories to sworn enemies who use those political layups against a President with the masses.   Mr. Trump should have addressed the nation on his Executive Order.  That address would have laid out the state of our refugee law, its purpose, how we previously implemented it, and why it needs review.  That address should have then explained why he was putting into effect a temporary ban, why it affected some countries rather than others, and the timing of the entire process.  Likewise, Mr. Trump should have explained in detail that the review was for our security, and his purpose was not to end our refugee program, but to make it more effective, more targeted, and more responsive to the people in most urgent need.  He did none of that, and instead left the explanation to be done by the hostile media he does not trust, the social networks he can’t control, and the partisan left who would gladly delegitimize him.

I have supported Mr. Trump’s call for additional vetting, and I have certainly advocated for extreme caution in granting asylum to people from countries in which we have active US military operations and to which are the home of radical Islamic terrorists hell-bent on our destruction.  His change in US policy from the Obama policy was going to happen, and it we needed change.  He has bungled this important issue.  He could have signed a nearly identical EO next week after a Tuesday night address.  That EO would have made clear the travel exemptions and exceptions.  Instead, Mr. Trump has permitted radicals to arouse the rubes and claim, with some degree of accuracy that he hastily executed and designed for nefarious, discriminatory purposes, this Executive order.  Someone gave this President bad advice, or this President ignored good advice.  Either way, when vetted refugees are stuck at airports, and US military interpreters are frozen in foreign cities, and publications claim your move is business related, and the left claims your hate all Muslims, you have clearly screwed up the roll out of a critical initiative.

President Trump owes the country a full explanation of this initiative, and he would be wise to address the nation and then hold a press conference to describe the details behind his action.  He needs this not just for the people of the United States that he serves, but he also needs to get out in front of the obvious attacks and distortions his actions have caused.  An immigration ban on immigrants from war-torn countries where our military is engaged is not even remotely radical.  Mr. Trump’s poor planning, however, converted it into something sinister to his own political detriment.  More importantly, he has blackened our eye as a nation, and we simply deserve better.

Author: Richard Kelsey

Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is a trial Attorney and author of a #11 best-selling book on Amazon written on higher education, “Of Serfs and Lords: Why College Tuition is Creating a Debtor Class”

Rich is also the author of the new Murder-Mystery series, “The ABC’s of Murder,” book one is titled, “Adultery.”

Rich is a former Assistant Law School Dean and Law Professor. At Mason Law Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP, drawing on his expertise as a former CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud.

In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation.

He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV. Rich has appeared on hundreds of stations as a legal expert or political commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL.

Rich also writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com.

In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.

His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.