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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rally For Immigrants and Refugees Tonight at Easton Circle

Tonight, at 6:30 pm, there will be a candlelight vigil at Easton circle to support our immigrant and refugee neighbors. I'd love to hear from individuals affected by President Trump's executive order, issued Friday, (You can read it here). I have no idea why Mayor Sal Panto or Mike "Darth Voter" Schlossberg are speaking, but they are.

Who Does The President's Order Ban? - For the next 90 days, no immigration or visits will be permitted from these seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen. Residents there are also barred from seeking refugee status. For 120 days, the refugee program is suspended. For Syria, the ban on seeking refugee status is indefinite.

Green Card Holders Are OK - Green card holders are already legal permanent residents. Trump banned them, too, but the Department of Homeland Security finally backed away from that provision in the Executive Order on Sunday after two days of contradictions.

Administration Will Comply With Judicial Orders. - Though The New York Post has published ACLU reports that Customs officials are ignoring a judge's order halting deportation of foreign nationals who've already arrived, Homeland Security has vowed it will follow all judicial orders. This is extremely important to me because one of my chief concerns about Trump is that he would ignore the courts. Most of the Order should survive legal challenge, according to legal experts, although the language barring legal residents is on its face invalid.

It is Technically Not a Muslim Ban. - Immigration is still permitted from numerous Muslim majority nations. The seven nations selected were already under restrictions imposed during the Obama administration.

The Order was Incompetently Drafted. - Because Trump is apparently convinced he already knows how to do everything, he failed to have his order vetted in advance by lawyers at DHS, Justice Department, State Department, Department of Defense and National Security Council. The result is four legal challenges in one day and mass confusion..

It Punishes the Innocent. - Despite Trump's claim to be all about protecting us from terrorism, he is hurting innocent people. Trump tweets about the extermination of Syrian Christians by ISIS, and then bans them from seeking refuge.It is ridiculous.In the name of national security, he has deported a Syrian family on its way to Allentown, despite their months of preparation to join their relatives here. Local Trump lover Jamie Kelton insensitively snarks they should go to Canada after this family was shipped to Quatar.

It Diminishes us. - We are now isolationists, a country like Medieval Japan, where outsiders were unwelcome. This actually weakens our national security instead of strengthening it, something Japan learned the hard way when Commodore Matthew Perry paid them a visit in 1853. In addition,it will certainly be construed as a Muslim ban by people in Muslim countries.  

Blogger's Note: I will accept no anonymous comments to this story.


Anonymous said...

"Punishes the innocent"

How bout having to stand in a line at the airport for two hours. Having to remove your shoes, your belt and have some security guard rub his hands all over your private parts. The innocent are getting punished everyday.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Standing in line longer than suits you is hardly the same thing as being sent back to a country you are fleeing from, after obtaining the requisite visas and spending months doing so.

Jamie Kelton said...

Obama banned immigration from Iraq, and Carter banned it from Iran. What's the difference with what Trump did ? It's only for 120 days, not for life.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The difference is that they did not make the announcement with no warning, which ripped families apart just as they were coming together. It was done insensitively and incompetently. It was done with no notice to most of the President's cabinet, including his own Sec'y of Defense. And your complete insensitivity to a family coming to Allentown from Syria after months of preparation, shows you for what you are. You embarrass me.

Jamie Kelton said...

So you're really upset that there was no warning, and not the fact that the President has the right to control who comes into our nation? I really don't remember all of this rancor when Obama did this, several times and without much controversy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is nothing like what has happened in the past. As I've already explained, prior administrations imposing similar bans have done so with plenty of notice and warning. I myself supported a temporary ban and said so during the campaign, but not like this. I expected something done competently.

The Department of Homeland Security knew nothing about this until the president was signing the order. Defense Sec'y Mattis was not informed until the morning before the order was signed. There was minimal legal review, if any, leading to an order that banned people who are already legal permanent residents, which is unlawful. There was no outreach to key allies. We ended up sending an Iraqi who translated for the US back to people who can't be happy with him. We rejected an Iranian woman on her way to Harvard Medical School to work on a cure for tuberculosis. "Feel safer?" she tweeted. You blithely dismissed all this saying those people can go to Canada. You showed yourself as a xenophobe who has no appreciation that what has made America great has been its immigrants.

Dave said...

I was reading that the King of Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide Safe Zones for Syrian refugees. Given that's close to Syria and also a Muslim nation, it seems a far better place for them to go to be out of the fighting in their homeland.

Also, I would think it would be less offensive to them than the United States is. Remember that most Muslims from the Middle East are offended by women that are not clothed from head to toe, as well as our permissive society of Homosexual marriages and Transsexuals.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are no authority on what is or is not offensive to Muslims. And why are you talking about them if this is not a Muslim ban?

donmiles said...

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant. He led and was the guiding genius of a $322 billion U.S. company, that today is a beacon of American ingenuity around the world. Whose future son or daughter are we excluding from joining us today?

Like everyone here who is not Native American, I am the descendant of immigrants who were welomed, not banned. Excluding entire nationalities from coming here is not what America is all about: check the placque at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Dave said...

It seems that it is simply cruel to expect refugees to adapt to life in a country that our openness and freedom, especially freedom of relation, contradicts their deeply-held religious beliefs.

I would believe that the goal to help these people keep safe and have useful lives. Being able to live in Saudi Arabla would allow them to return home quickly and relatively easily once peace is restored in their country.

Chris Casey said...

Bernie, I see this differently, as perhaps Trump and his inner circle seeing just how far they can push the courts, and whether or not they can get away with ignoring them to a point? How do you enforce a ban against the enforcers who are ordered to do this dirty work? Trump has purged the State Department of any and all dissent, and has now packed the National Security Council with his yes people. Removing the Joint Chiefs from the NSC is an egregious lack of judgement in my view. Basing military decisions on political beliefs is what caused the Vietnam debacle. Trump is blocking out the voices he should consider to only hear what he wants to hear. This is a reckless path that endangers our Democracy and our civilian population abroad and at home. I truly fear that we will suffer a horrendous mass casualty attack on a civilian population within the next 6 months. We are not prepared, and our leadership is tone deaf.

Dave said...

donmiles: My dentist is from Syria, and has lived here for many years. No one is being barred entry by any of this. Our FBI director has said on several occasions our verification procedure for middle-eastern refugees is unworkable. President Trump is trying to correct the problem and this three-month pause can give our government time to correct the problem.

As was stated before, this isn't the first time this has been done, by several Presidents in the past. And now the King of Saudi Arabia is allowing Syrian refugees to stay in his nation, which is a good thing. Eventually all of this will be sorted out.

Unknown said...

I think Trump is doing the right thing. Its about time someone is in office that doesn't care if he offends someone by protecting this country. With all the attacks on our soil with IRIS and stuff we really need to beef up security and the process of letting others in.

Seeking Truth said...

I believe that we need to be vigilant about who comes into our country. Everyone is up in arms because Trump did it. Obama did the same thing, yet no one said a word. Double standard? These countries are harboring enemies of the United States. We need to make sure our procedures meet the threat.

BTW, the ban is within the powers of an existing immigration law. Carter banned immigrants from Iraq during the hostage crisis. No one said a word.

Just another example of hate mongering by the tolerant party.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Perhaps you should do a little more truth seeking. What Obama did is nothing like what Trump has pulled.what Carter did was the result of provocation and was actually coordinated with other branches of government and our allies.

Bob Welsh said...


The above article asks the rationale for inclusion of each country on the banned list, and notes that countries with links to terrorism where Trump has done business are not included. I hope someone from the Administration will explain exactly why some countries and not others were included, so that we can be confident there's no conflict of interest here.

In elementary school, while raising money to refurbish the Statue of Liberty, we learned that one of the things that made America special was her openness to downtrodden people from other countries who were willing to travel very far in hopes of a better life. "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." How disappointing that Trump does not honor this tradition.

Show me an immigrant and I'll show you one of the hardest working Americans you'll ever meet. Immigrants take tremendous risk, work very hard, and tend to be family oriented. They are the quintessential Americans and deserve to be honored rather than 'othered' and scapegoated. And NOBODY deserves to be turned back at JFK after passing the strict multi-year vetting that's already in place for refugees.

If you die in a mass shooting in the United States, the overwhelming odds are that the shooter is a white man. I'd like to know how Trump or his supporters intend to address this far more serious domestic terrorism problem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave's comments demonstrate he is intolerant of Muslims. His philosophy is really no different than their extremists.

Ron Beitler said...

1.) Immigration laws needed to be tightened. Tough to argue otherwise. Prior admins certainly did not do nothing. But they also did not do enough.

2.) As a baseline - I believe there are cultures fundamentally incompatible with western society. Namely, those that practice Sharia Law, believe in Salafi jihadism or have become militant in any way. Which of course (and should be obvious, but isn't to some) represents a very small % of muslims. We have to be comfortable with acknowledging this reality. Some on the left should get this but for some reason don't. If for no other reason the very open religiously fueled violent aggression toward gays, women, children etc. etc. perpetuated by these subsets. I personally think the problem is the lefts adherence to "absolute multiculturalism" leaves some with blind spots.
Others on the left do get this, but choose to exploit the misunderstanding with some voters. Both parties engage in this sort of political pandering and opportunism.

3.) Any blanket ban even temporary on Muslim (religious test) travelers is constitutionally problematic. Not to mention ethically wrong. I understand this isn't the case here....

4.) So the question is. And to use the example above - How do you "extreme vet" an adherent to say Shariah law or Salafi jihadism which I think is appropriate without it becoming a blanket religious test per say... which is something (depending on interpretation) either expressively outlawed by the constitution or at least frowned upon? This is a problem that has to be solved.

5.) The issue with the recent actions and what has become the trademark of President Trump - was total clumsiness in execution. His now trademark boorishness, callousness and total (perceived and real) lack of empathy. An order to temporarily stop travel or immigration from identified core countries with militancy issues could and should have been sensibly employed. But the execution by the administration was terrible. Example: It was - first of all totally wrong, but also politically insane to include current green card holders in the temporary ban. This part was eventually fixed by the people he should have consulted in the first place. But not after totally un-needed chaos. Again, unforced errors by Trump. Over and over.

That being said, Trump’s follow-through on his promise to temporarily restrict immigration might seem an over-reach to some, but until a broken system (and it is broken) is fixed, he is more right than wrong. Now he stumbled upon it by virtue of being a populist candidate. Is totally clumsy about it. But nonetheless, more right than wrong. As many know, I am NO FAN of the Presidents. Not at all.

6.) I see refugee issue as separate. I believe (personal beliefs) that our nation has an obligation to help humans in need. But that responsibility can't rest solely on our shoulders. We should be very heavily pressuring other nations with better physical proximity who aren't doing enough. Some are. Turkey and Lebanon both have over a million refugees in their borders. But other nations that are US "friends" do absolutely nothing. I'm looking at you Saudi Arabia. That is very problematic. The United States? We have few thousand refugees from what I understand. It is not waves and waves (at least through official channels) that's where the right panders and stokes fear. (That being documented, many more are here that aren't and that's an issue - see point #1)

Further, with refugees, while it makes sense to prioritize those who are members of vulnerable religious minorities (can be those other than Christians) in war-torn countries, I am having trouble reconciling how that in and of itself is a religious test.

Iman Trek said...

With all do respect to our Muslim brothers, but is this the same country that sent back those haitian refugees??? Where the hell was the outrage and protests then??? Weren't those people running from adversity??? When has Haiti had terrorist ties or extremist cults posing as religion???

Its even funnier how feded stands with vigilante James cramsey, but snubs the hijab solidarity day.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Iman, The Haitians who were sent back were here illegally. Big difference.

Iman Trek said...

Point taken bernie. thank you...

JoshLCowen said...

I'm confident the few innocents caught up in this will survive their short delay. Not the same for thousands of American families whose loved ones were incinerated in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania just 16 short years ago.....not to mention the scores of other families forever scarred by other acts of Islamic violence here and abroad.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your false sympathy notwithstanding, the terrorists who incinerated those people a dozen years ago came from countries that are not on The Donald's list.

george schaller said...

I think there is a much broader compexities in the modern social issues facing todays America, These poor people that have followed the right venues and its many forms file for entry into the USA have just fell victim to the harshness needed to begin the fix. It has taken many years even pryor to 911 to be at the dire straights and it will take bad judgement and good judgement implimentation to get were we all hope to be well again on American soil.
I think this is just a diversion plan for the reel plans that will soon be in there incubation period, a whole lot of fixing is needed not even to mention the maintanence that has been neglected to have had Americas infastructures to have fallen into such henious disrepair. A few more days suck when the family reunioin was set to be this weekend, but the squize is worth the juice and the reunion will be all the better than.
Seperation makes the heart grow founder and the joy will be worth the wait, wait and see!
REpublican redd
humanist by design
humanist by design

Anonymous said...

Unless it was fake news, the networks reported that the Order was vetted by the Justice Dept lawyers. Don't the Justice Dept departments talk to each other?

Anonymous said...

How's this for a Trump remedy. We waterboard and torture (Trump says it works) anyone who wants to come into the country until we're sure they're ok. Personally I'm more worried about crossing my street than being killed by a terrorist .(at least a dozen people have been killed within 5 miles of my house in the last 10 years).