There is no denying that executive actions are a part of a presidency, no matter your party or ideology. In recent years, Bill Clinton had 364, George W. Bush had 291, and Barack Obama had 275. Donald Trump has a total of 5 orders and 10 actions so far. If he kept up this rate, he’d clock in 640 orders per year.
Nobody should be surprised by the amount he is issuing, or the content of them. Most of them were major campaign promises and simple reversals of Obama’s policies. Additionally, Trump was essentially elected on the basis that he would get things done. If he didn’t take immediate action, he would quickly be discredited, and lose more of the dwindling support he has.
However, some of his federal orders are beginning to paint a picture of a fundamentally dangerous position that the U.S. government is taking, especially in regards to its borders.
Trump’s executive orders on “immigration enforcement improvements” and “enhancing public safety” not only take drastic measures on increasing security, but demand the hiring of 5,000 and 10,000 border patrol and immigration officers respectively. Simultaneously, he has issued a federal hiring freeze.
These orders are inherently contradictory. Trump is arguing that there is a need to cut federal spending on all issues and offices, but is willing to pump billions into unnecessary border security, as well as additional offices, increased intelligence, and a “weekly updated list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants”.
To me, this doesn’t sound like a state that is fiscally conservative and believes in equal opportunity. It sounds like a state that is aggressively moving in to a security state, building itself up against any outside perspective or belief, and targeting broader problems the country faces, on specific races.
Furthermore, Trump has just recently taken action on visa and refugee programs. While not updated on the White House website yet, Politico reports that the newest executive order suspends the entry of all “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Libya, and may apply to Yemen and Somalia for 90 days, in addition to an indefinite ban of Syrian refugees. Essentially, a border shut down. This conveniently excludes Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. These are states where Trump has admitted he has a conflict of interest.
Most notably, there has been a prioritization of Christian refugees, as opposed to Muslim ones.
This order, just issued Friday night, ensued chaos. Two men were detained at JFK airport over this order, and the American Civil Liberties Union sued on their behalf. The ACLU won, and currently, a stay has been granted so no deportations will occur because of this order.
The constitutionality of the religious aspect of this order has been questioned. Both sides have good arguments, and if it ever came up in court it would come down largely to the judge. However, the larger concern with this order is how un-American it truly is. I’m not one to defend nationalism, but the man who has been elected on the foundation of “Make America Great Again,” is going against everything that did make America great.
We rose to the top of the global food chain because of diversity, the unique mixing of minds and ideas America was welcome to. We are a country that was discovered, settled, defended, and established by immigrants, largely running away from religious persecution. To deny entry to those who are running away from the same things we did is hypocritical, egregious, and racist. These latest executive orders illustrate further that Donald Trump is not in the business of making America great, but in the business of himself and his success in power, which is fundamentally dangerous.