It may not have been technically illegal. But President Trump’s hastily written, improperly vetted and chaotically enforced immigration edict of last week, which restricts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, is wrong on many, many levels.
Make no mistake. We favor reasonable measures to keep America safe, including steps to vet foreign nationals who wish to live and work here. These measures are already in place.
But this executive order was draconian. Implemented suddenly, without input from Congress or any security agencies, it gave officials no time to comprehend the new rules. It included, at first, legal residents with green cards and others who had already been through years of vetting, causing heartbreak and confusion in airports around the world.
We all saw the scenes from arrival terminals in our own country: families split apart and new arrivals detained, including in one case a 5-year-old.
About that, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, “To assume someone because of their age or gender that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong.”
What a disgusting thing to say about a child. For shame.
Fortunately, Americans of all ages, ethnicities and religious groups showed the administration they were having none of it. Thousands flocked to America’s airports, including San Francisco International Airport, protesting loudly. They included clergy, elected officials and an army of lawyers working pro bono.
Jews showed up in great numbers to speak out, too, as we describe in our cover story. This issue strikes at the Jewish heart — not only does it speak to our values, but it also resonates with our history of persecution and exclusion. All four major Jewish denominations issued condemnations of the executive order, and Jewish agencies of all stripes likewise blasted the ban on Muslim immigration, despite the administration’s protestations that it is only about security.
If that were true, the ban would include Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from — and a country where President Trump has business ties.
In a related development, we applaud San Francisco for standing fast in declaring this a sanctuary city, despite Trump’s threats to cut off federal funding. We will not be bullied into abandoning what the majority of the Bay Area believes to be correct and moral behavior.
Immigrants to this country need to go through established security checks, to protect our nation’s safety. The process is already lengthy and rigorous. Putting a blanket ban on what is in effect one religious group is wrong and un-American. We offer our voice in opposition to this calamitous executive order.