Immigration Executive Order: Bigly Bad policy written with a crayon.


By the time I am finished completing this blog post Donald Trump will have been America’s Mayor for a little over nine days.

During that time he has embarked upon a plan of action with Executive Orders that mirrors nearly everything he said he would do while he was out on the campaign trail.

This past week I have had numerous conversations with friends on the left, those on the right and, for sanity and balance sake, my own two children.

Those who supported Trump are pleased as punch that he is doing exactly what he promised he would do.

From the perspective of voters who cast their vote based upon those promises I imagine they are pretty pleased that a politician is doing exactly what he said he would do.

Those who opposed Trump are, predictably, angry and outraged and a number of other words that ultimately morph into the word “apoplectic.”

Thankfully my 16 year old son and my 14 year old daughter pushed the discussion further than soundbites.

They asked me if I read the Executive Order:  I had not.

They asked me if I agreed with it:  I had to be honest that from what I heard I disagreed with much of its substance.

They asked what I was going to do about it:  Sometimes my kids can make me feel like I don’t do enough to change the world they live in for the better.

While I really don’t feel compelled to write this disclaimer I find that by doing so the people who read these posts may approach them with a bit more open-mindedness if I don’t.

I did not vote for Donald Trump.

Nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton.

My candidate for President lost by roughly 134.5 million votes.

Now, the fact that my candidate lost so badly doesn’t upset me all that much.  Candidly, I am a big fan of American democracy.  I think that whoever wins the presidential race generally ends up not being nearly as good as we hoped they would be nor as bad as we hoped they would be.

I am okay with that happy medium.  In the end, it is the system of American governance that ensures that no President, regardless of how much – or little – they won by can ever singlehandedly create catastrophe in America.

What I am not okay with, I admit, are stupid policy decisions that are not just proposed – but implemented.

Case in point is President Trumps recent Executive Order related to immigration.

Now, I had thought I might offer a studied and sober analysis of his Executive Order.  But, then I rejected that notion because like most things on the internet of things nobody really wants to pay attention to facts.

In a world where outrage is spread with 140 letters on what is an estimated 317 million Twitter accounts I already ran out of letters in this sentence alone.

Instead, I’d like to offer this perspective.

Among the myriad of problems with Trump’s Executive Order the most egregious is drafting it with the input of guys who are political hacks and ideological activists rather than people who America has entrusted to protect and preserve our nation.

Furthermore, signing an Executive Order that has such impact on American life – inside and outside of our borders – without some public vetting is simply, in a word, dumb.

Bigly dumb, I might add.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have issued a statement that I believe, most significantly, addresses the most troubling aspect of Trump’s Executive Order.

“Our government has a responsibility to defend our borders, but we must do so in a way that makes us safer and upholds all that is decent and exceptional about our nation. 

“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security. 

“Such a hasty process risks harmful results. We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home. We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.

“Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism. At this very moment, American troops are fighting side-by-side with our Iraqi partners to defeat ISIL. But this executive order bans Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in Arizona to fight our common enemies. Our most important allies in the fight against ISIL are the vast majority of Muslims who reject its apocalyptic ideology of hatred. This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

I suspect in the hours and days ahead the Trump Administration will ultimately walk back various elements of its Executive Order.  I suspect they will do so quietly and move onto the next of his campaign promises.

In the meantime, those who despise him and those who adore him will rage the night fantastic on social media, airport protests and the like.

As I shared with my children, and those who are among the 134.5 million people who did not vote for my candidate for President, this is the messy work of democracy in America.

Democracy wasn’t intended to be easy or pretty or capable of solving problems with a swipe of a pen or the insert of a ballot into a machine.

It is, and was and will be the use of all of the tools of the arsenal of democracy to continue to move America forward into a next decade and new century and beyond.

Trumps immigration order?

It is, as I often referred to laws that were drafted during my time in government, written with a crayon.

It’s time to get the serious voices into the room with the order and fashion something that upholds American values and ideals and accomplishes the task of protecting and preserving our country.

And, to ask my kid’s question about what I am going to do about it, here is my answer:

I am going to learn everything I can about it.  I am going to get the facts from as many sources as possible.  And, I am going to encourage them to do the same and we will gather around the kitchen table and talk about what we believe we have learned.

We will talk about what we think we should do.

Then, we will do it.

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