Four Ways Trump Contradicts Himself With His New Travel Ban

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress, Washington, D.C., February 28. REUTERS/JIM LO SCALZO

This article first appeared on the Cato Institute site.

President Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all immigration from several majority-Muslim countries. The entire point of the new order is to place his ban on more secure legal footing.

But in several respects, the new order actually undermines the defenses that he has given over the past month.

'Delaying Implementation Puts Our Country in Peril!'

After a judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the original order for a few days to get a hearing to listen to further arguments on both sides, President Trump tweeted:

Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!

In other words, the delay threatened U.S. security. Yet this new executive order does not become effective for more than a week.

Does the president's delayed rollout also "put our country in peril"? The president's legal team will have a more difficult time arguing that another judicial delay will cause "irreparable harm" to the U.S. this time.

'Current Vetting Is Totally Inadequate!'

President Trump in his speech to Congress said:

It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. …That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures.

In other words, these nationalities must be completely banned because the current vetting is worthless. Yet this new order allows people who currently have a valid visa to come.

If the vetting process is so inadequate, then exempting current visa holders makes no sense. They are still a threat even if they have gone through the process.

'This Is About Better Vetting, Not Banning People.'

The president in his original executive order stated:

To ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals… I hereby suspend entry into the United States… of such persons for 90 days.

Thus, the whole point of this "temporary" ban is to give the administration 90 days to review the vetting. It's not about keeping people out. If that's so, then why does the new executive order restart the clock to 90 days? 37 days have passed since the order was enacted.

Why would the time when the prior order was suspended not count against the 90-day review? It seems obvious that it's because the review was a fraud, and the real goal is about banning people. It was unable to accomplish its goal due to the judge's order, so the new order restarts.

The new order also cites the case of a Somali who was brought over when he was a child who then became a "terrorist": as a reason for the ban. Yet that is not a failure of vetting; that is a failure of assimilation. Using this example would imply that this ban is not about vetting and that the president has no plans to keep it temporary.

"President Obama Came Up With the List!"

President Trump stated:

The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.

This assertion was based on the fact that the list of seven countries was drawn from a law that Congress passed in 2015 that required Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Sudanese and any other nationality that the president decided to have a valid visa before entering the United States. President Obama added Libyans and Somalis to this list.

Here's the problem: President Trump took Iraq off the list, which means that now he can no longer claim that his list is the same as President Obama's or is based on a congressional statute. It's now his list and his alone.

Related: Banning Muslim immigrants won't make America safer

David Bier is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.