COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)—A national security expert at the University of South Carolina says he has some major concerns about President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, but agrees that it is not a ban on all Muslims.
Hamid Khan is a professor at USC, deputy director of the Rule of Law Collaborative, and National Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. President Trump says his order is not a “Muslim ban.” But Khan says, “In fact, it is a ban because he is identifying seven different countries, and so the rule has been blanket with respect to those countries. Now, with respect to whether or not this is a Muslim ban, I think there is a point to be raised, which is that, in fact, many countries are exempted from that, and the majority of the Muslim world is still included.”
The executive order temporarily stops immigrants and refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. President Trump says, “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. The seven countries named in the executive order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.”
But former president Barack Obama rejects that argument, saying his order did not ban visas for Iraqis but only slowed the process because of additional scrutiny.
Khan says, “The fact that this is being placed in the context of an executive order could also mean, at least indications are, that it could be expanded, the number of countries could be expanded, and, if this last measure is any indication, the concern might be that it might be rolled out rather too quickly for people to take proper notice.”
A White House statement said, “We will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and voters.”
Khan expects this to be a long court battle, but says the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 gives presidents great power, “And that power to protect our borders is very difficult for a court to question or second-guess.” However, he thinks that, since the order gives preferential status to Christians over Muslims from these overwhelmingly Muslim countries, it gives the impression legally that Muslims are second-class citizens.
Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan, from Laurens, who represents South Carolina’s 3rd District, is completely behind the president’s order. He tweeted, “As a member of the Homeland Security & Foreign Affairs Committees, I appreciate the bold action of @realDonaldTrump to keep America safe.”
Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-SC 4th District, issued a statement following President Trump’s executive orders on extreme vetting:
“Our nation has a long and rich history of welcoming those fleeing persecution. We also have a long and rich history of liberating those suffering under oppression. We are the most welcoming and generous country in the world, and we are a country of immigrants.
The world we find ourselves in is dangerous and becoming increasingly so. Since national security and public safety are the preeminent functions of government, there is a fundamental duty to ensure the necessary background investigations can be done to stop anyone intent on doing harm from exploiting Americans’ generosity and taking more innocent lives.
American people deserve border and interior security. They deserve to know who is coming to our country, for what purpose, and for how long. They deserve to be assured those seeking entry into the country – regardless of the length of stay – have been vetted thoroughly and do not represent a security risk.
I am committed to doing everything we can to keep Americans safe just as I am committed to defending religious liberty and providing refuge to those fleeing persecution.”