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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Donald Trump is starting to sound like a critic of his own administration. “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” he tweeted on Monday, referring to the executive order currently before the Supreme Court.

It was Trump, not the Justice Department, who decided to issue that revised order, based on the reasonable expectation that it would be easier to defend in court. And contrary to Trump’s claim that his “smart, vigilant and tough” policy provides “an extra level of safety,” there is little reason to think either version of the travel ban would reduce the average American’s already tiny risk of being killed by a terrorist.

Trump’s original order, issued on January 27, imposed a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It suspended admission of refugees for 120 days, indefinitely for Syrians.

The revised order, issued on March 6 after the first version was blocked by the courts, removed Iraq from the list of targeted countries and eliminated the distinction between Syrians and other refugees. Two other changes were more legally significant.

The revised order clarified that the travel ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents, who according to the Supreme Court have a right to due process when the government tries to exclude them, or current visa holders, whose American hosts might have standing to sue. Trump’s lawyers also excised a preference for refugees from religious minorities (typically Christians), which critics cited as evidence of unconstitutional anti-Muslim bias.

That comment misconstrues the roles of the Justice Department, which is defending Trump’s order, not rewriting it, and the Supreme Court, which can only review the order as it stands. And if Trump plans to revive the original ban after the second one passes muster, he will only prolong the litigation he claims is endangering national security.

That claim is highly implausible. Trump says he picked the seven (now six) countries covered by the travel ban because they were on a list of nations excluded from the visa waiver program as sponsors of terrorism or havens for terrorists. But people from those countries seem to pose a much smaller terrorist threat than people from countries that were omitted from the order.

Based on his count of domestic plots and attacks by foreign-born terrorists from 1975 through 2015, Cato Institute immigration analyst Alex Nowrasteh reports that 19 perpetrators came from Saudi Arabia, 14 from Pakistan, 11 from Egypt and 11 from Cuba. Their combined death toll was 2,537.

During the same period, Nowrasteh found, six foreign-born terrorists came from Iran, six from Sudan, two from Somalia, and one from Yemen. None came from Libya or Syria. The combined death toll for terrorists from those six countries was zero.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sociologist Charles Kurzman compiled information on Muslims who carried out or were accused of planning domestic attacks last year. Most (12 out of 23) were American-born converts. Just two, both Somalis who were shot and killed during nonfatal knife attacks, came from a country on Trump’s list or had parents who did.

Even if the list made sense, it is hard to imagine how the “extreme vetting” Trump promises could identify future terrorists. As an internal Department of Homeland Security report noted last March, “most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry.”

The travel ban is security theater, designed to look tough on terrorism without doing much about it. Trump confuses political incorrectness with seriousness.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @jacobsullum. To find out more about Jacob Sullum and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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19 responses to “Trump’s Travel Ban Is Security Theater”

  1. Independent1 says:

    “The travel ban is security theater, designed to look tough on terrorism
    without doing much about it. Trump confuses political incorrectness with

    All Trump does is create “political theater”. He hasn’t addressed one serious issue that is facing America. Trump is so clueless that he confuses much more than political correctness, he confuses virtually everything that comes out of his mouth or that he tweets. Most of what he spews is totally incoherent.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    I wish the conclusion expressed in this article was true. Trump is in fact doing a lot about terrorism. Unfortunately, he is doing the opposite to what he should be doing. Agreeing to sell $110B worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, the homeland of Osama bin Laden, 15 of the 19 terrorists that carried out the attack, and the homeland of the Saudi Arabia Wahhabi princes that financed that tragedy is the last thing we should do. The same goes for Trump ignoring the fact that Saudi Arabia is the homeland of the Sunnis responsible for most terrorist attacks in the USA and Europe. To make matters even worse, most terrorist attacks in Europe were carried out by people born in France, Belgium, or the UK, whose ancestry was from Pakistan, Morocco, Algiers, and other countries not listed in the ridiculous travel ban.

    • Edencmichael says:

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj284d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash284NewWinPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::!mj284d..,.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Where is the huge outcry from the right and Republicans now that Tillerson is SOS and 6 Americans are dead in Afghanistan this past week? Let’s all go after Hillary and Obama but never ever be honorable adults and face the fact that Trump tweeted last Sunday that he is “behind the Saudi attack on Iran Kurds.”

      If he is, that only proves why he sold those arms to the Saudis.

    • FireBaron says:

      Now, Dom, don’t you realize that Teflon Donnie is trying to develop business opportunities in all of the countries that provided terrorists that are not included in the ban? If he excluded people from those countries, where would Teflon Donnie Junior and his kid brother do business?

  3. If any travel ban is to be issued it should be a ban prohibiting Trump from being on the planet. The hysterics and gyrations of this simpleton are better left to be performed on the moon or beyond. Not only is he thoroughly incompetent, a showboating adolescent in an adult frame, amoral, and a groper, but he is actually increasing the likelihood of further terrorism.

    By both Trump and Bannon showing an appalling ignorance of the features of Wahhabi fundamentalism, which has its genesis in Saudi Arabia, his ban allows for Saudi travel to the US, along with the Muslim Brotherhood which has affiliates in Egypt and in Qatar—both nations NOT on Trump’s ill-conceived ban. And by now we know the reason that Trump’s ban allows for Saudis, Egyptians, and Qataris to travel here, because he has business interests in all three countries.

    Trump is a mercenary at heart, using the office of the Presidency to acquire more money and feed his burgeoning ego, has no real concern for terrorism except to use it as a means to distract from his own personal problems, while thumbing his nose at the hoi polloi who still support him. In the meantime, Donald and the GOP continue to figure out a way to stiff them and the rest of the nation on health care. Next phase is continue the squeeze on the lower classes while further enriching the most wealthy.

  4. Mama Bear says:

    Trump’s entire being is theater. Does he know most of the world is laughing at him?

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      Yes. He knows.
      It enrages him.
      That’s why he insists on idolization from underlings.
      He has no peers.

      • Independent1 says:

        I was glad to see that Joe Scarborough blasted Trump over that bizzare display at his cabinet meeting. Joe called it like it was; SICK!

        See this:

        Joe Scarborough blasts ‘un-American’ fawning Trump Cabinet

        Joe Scarborough ripped into President Trump and his Cabinet on Tuesday, one day after a video of Trump prompting officials to speak up and praise him during a meeting caught fire.

        “‘Sick’ is the word,” the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” said of the meeting. “It is also deeply un-American to turn a Cabinet meeting, with the president of the United States, in the White House, into a cheerleading routine where everybody’s supposed to go around and praise him.”

        Scarborough wasn’t the only one who questioned the event — the Trump administration’s first full Cabinet meeting. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a satirical video of him similarly addressing his own aides shortly after the Trump meeting went viral.

        Trump later posted a lengthy clip of the exchange on Twitter. In the video, the president calls on attendees one by one, who in turn take the opportunity to fawn over their boss.

        “What Donald Trump doesn’t understand is, so many things, but the first thing is, he is serving the American people,” Scarborough said.

        He also tore into the Cabinet for the mushy display and went so far as to advise officials to leave before submitting to the president in that manner again.

        “If you’re a Cabinet member, come on!” an exasperated Scarborough exclaimed. “Come on, you owe us more than that. We pay for your salary too. Stand up for yourself. Have dignity. And if he doesn’t want you around because you stand up for yourself and have dignity, then leave.”

        • PrecipitousDrop says:

          It was entirely too disturbing.
          That degree of fawning is distressing in any setting but the well-trod boards of a favorite old farce.

          • Independent1 says:

            It certainly was disturbing. Trump’s prepping the group for something; I wouldn’t be surprised if at the next meeting he’ll be asking his cabinet to start the meeting with “Heil Trump!” He hasn’t forgotten Mein Kampf.

          • Independent1 says:

            Here’s a little article which may provide some insight into where Trump is headed, what’s driving him and why he just can’t shut his mouth:

            Donald Trump’s ex-wife once said Trump kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed

            According to a 1990 Vanity Fair interview, Ivana Trump once told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that her husband, real-estate mogul Donald Trump, now a leading Republican presidential candidate, kept a book of Hitler’s speeches near his bed.

            “Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed … Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist,” Marie Brenner wrote.

            Hitler was one of history’s most prolific orators, building a genocidal Nazi regime with speeches that bewitched audiences. “He learned how to become a charismatic speaker, and people, for whatever reason, became enamored with him,” Professor Bruce Loebs, who has taught a class called the Rhetoric of Hitler and Churchill for the past 46 years at Idaho State University, told Business Insider earlier this year.

            “People were most willing to follow him, because he seemed to
            have the right answers in a time of enormous economic upheaval.”


            And note this article:

            Trump is more of a psychopath than Hitler, other U.S. presidential contenders, researcher finds


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