Over the last few months, we've had a very, very small, but still vocal group of folks in our comments who have gotten angry every time we've been critical of Donald Trump -- even when we were making nearly identical complaints about him as we did about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. That group of people probably won't like this post very much, though I do hope they'll read it with open minds. We're not a political blog. We cover technology and innovation, as well as the legal, economic and policy issues related to those things. Over the years, that's included issues related to civil liberties and civil rights. We don't see these things as being separate. They are all connected and intertwined. We've even spent plenty of time discussing immigration, though focusing on high tech and entrepreneur immigration.
But I don't think there's any need for me to try to justify why I'm making this post on Techdirt today. This is about humanity. And if you want to complain in the comments that you don't want to read this on a "tech" site, well, then maybe take a second and think about what this says about you. Basically my entire family came to America between around 1890 and 1920 -- most of them escaping religious persecution elsewhere. My great grandmother had to hide in the bottom of a boat to escape from where she lived. Many came through Ellis Island, and were welcomed into America. My grandfathers built up businesses here. One fought bravely against Nazis (literally) in World War II for the US in Europe and North Africa, and came back to the US and built a company that (among other things) was a huge supplier for the Boy Scouts of America. While they may have struggled at times, my family came to America and was embraced by America, thrived in America and has always loved America. My wife is an immigrant. Her family moved here when she was young to give her and her siblings a better life. And that's what they found. America embraced them and they embraced America back. They're all US citizens.
All weekend long, I've been reading all sorts of accounts about President Trump's executive order. Some of it has been thoughtful. Some of it has been hysterical. Some of it has been painful. Some of it has been ridiculous.
But it all comes back to one thing: this is about our humanity.
The "excuses" that some have been spewing for the executive order make no sense. They say this is about "safety," yet there is no evidence that the people being kept out were a risk to our safety. As many have noted, not a single terrorist attack has come from people from those countries. They say this is about "extreme vetting" but ignore that refugees already go through a ridiculously long and thorough "extreme vetting" process that can take years. They say that this is just an "inconvenience" to a "small group" of people, ignoring that they are basically upending the lives of entire families -- families including those with permanent resident status, who have been valuable, contributing members to our country for years and years and years.
This is madness.
They say that this is necessary to protect us at home, but even ignoring everything above, it's hard to see how this doesn't make us less safe. How can anyone read this essay by Kirk Johnson and not realize how much harm we're doing. Johnson has devoted a big part of his life to helping Iraqis who literally put their lives at risk to help Americans, and then were ignored by America. Read what he's written and ask yourself what foreigner will sign up to help America again in the future?
They say this is about "the rule of law," but then explain why Customs and Border Patrol are literally ignoring court orders and refusing to even speak to members of Congress? They say this is about stopping threats at home, but that doesn't explain at all why the White House failed to have the relevant experts review the executive order before it was put in place, or why multiple national security experts have noted this will clearly make us less safe. And, of course, nothing explains why the White House directly overruled Homeland Security saying this wouldn't apply to permanent residents (and then required DHS to later come out and try to clarify).
Again, this goes back to a story about basic humanity. And our country massively failing.
I know there are lots of people speculating on a variety of things around all of this. There are explanations that this is part of a "shock doctrine" move to sow chaos and confusion and deligitimize organizations before the really bad policy is put into place. And perhaps that's true. It's certainly something to watch for. But, as someone who tries to look at every policy proposal based on a "does this make sense" or "does this make the world a better place" metric -- and not on a "does this help my team" scale -- it must be stated that the executive order Donald Trump signed late last week, that was put into effect over the weekend is not just a disaster. It hasn't just created a constitutional crisis with parts of the executive branch ignoring the judiciary. It's not just a policy that is impacting millions of lives.
It's simply inhumane.
This is about humanity, and anyone who has any sense of humanity has a responsibility to speak up about it and to say that this is not right. If you get angry about this post, and think you need to insult us and attack me or this site, I would only recommend that you first take stock of your life, and think about what message you are sending out into the world when you do so.
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