On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an order restricting the travel of refugees and immigrants from unnamed “countries of particular concern.” Friday evening, after two Iraqi immigrants were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, thousands of protesters crammed into airport terminals, causing a ruckus and lighting up the Internet.
Reportedly, there were more tweets about Trump’s so-called “Muslim Ban” executive order than there were about the president’s inauguration and the liberal cause célèbre the “Women’s March” — combined.
“Twitter spox just emailed that over weekend there have been over 25M Tweets sent related to the President’s refugee/ Muslim ban,” announced Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed’s senior technology writer, on Twitter Sunday.
Twitter spox just emailed that
over weekend there have been over 25M Tweets sent related to the President's refugee/ Muslim ban
— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) January 29, 2017
If indeed this number (25 million tweets) is accurate, it dwarfs the number of Twitter posts on Inauguration Day (12 million) and the Women’s March (11.5 million) combined.
— Twitter Data (@TwitterData) January 20, 2017
— Twitter Data (@TwitterData) January 22, 2017
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also led protests.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 29, 2017
While activists and journalists have attacked Trump’s order as a “Muslim Ban,” this is a mischaracterization of the order. “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday, The Hill reported. “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”
Trump also argued that former President Obama did something similar, when in 2011 he “banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.”
As The Federalist’s Sean Davis pointed out, the media said nothing when Obama took this action, and few criticized President Obama’s effective ban on Christian refugees from Syria.
Indeed, the lawsuit filed on behalf of the two detained Iraqi refugees was filed by groups funded by George Soros.
In a terrifyingly sick and ignorant attack, liberals used photographs of the dead Syrian boy Alan Kurdi to attack Trump’s order. Here is Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s take:
To my colleagues: don't ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you chose to be silent today. pic.twitter.com/XW7sjmCcXh
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 28, 2017
Here is former Harry Reid staffer Adam Jentleson:
This is someone Trump would ban from entering America. pic.twitter.com/09x4Gng3Kl
— Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@AJentleson) January 25, 2017
This line of attack is particularly egregious because Kurdi died in 2015, two years before Trump took office, and because President Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq and his administration’s policy of accepting only a tiny handful of refugees before 2015 (29 in 2011 and 31 in 2012, for example) arguably contributed to Kurdi’s death, as IJR’s Benny Johnson explained.
Despite these liberal misfires, Trump’s order does indeed have serious problems. For one, the original version prohibited immigrants with green cards coming back into the United States.
National Review‘s Charles Cooke is himself a green-card holder — a noncitizen but lawful permanent resident on the path toward citizenship. Such a status requires extensive vetting (1 year in Cooke’s case, and his record was squeaky-clean). While it might make sense to temporarily halt most immigration from countries of particular concern, it makes no sense to ban the re-entry of these noncitizen residents.
In a statement Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the order would no longer apply to green card holders.
The detainment of the two Iraqi refugees — one of whom risked his life to work for the U.S. Army in his home country — was particularly troubling, and this event sparked the protests.
The connection of Soros-funded groups and the speed with which both the detainment and the protests took place are indeed suspicious. At least one of the men detained — Hameed Khalid Darweesh — had served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in Iraq. It is impossible to tell how early he applied for refugee status, but in March 2015, nine Iraqi interpreters filed suit against the U.S. government over visa delays. It might seem convenient that this particular interpreter received his visa on the last day of the Obama administration (January 20), and was caught up in Trump’s executive order.
On Saturday night, a federal court in Brooklyn granted an emergency stay for the two particular Iraqi men detained, preventing their deportation. It was unclear whether the stay applied to all legal immigrants detained while entering the U.S. under the order, ABC reported.
In any case, it is a travesty that Darweesh was detained, and that green-card holders were targeted, however briefly. Whether this justifies the outrage and protests of thousands in airports across the country, when similar actions undertaken by Obama warranted nary a peep, is much harder to say.