President Trump’s new travel ban

Immigration_Ban_Protest_at_ORD_08President Trump has issued a revised travel and immigration ban.  This one is  designed to pass legal muster after his first executive order on the issue was struck down by the courts.  It is also designed to avoid other problems raised by the first order.

The new policy will allow visitors and immigrants from Iraq, responding to military requests that Iraqis who helped U.S. forces whose lives may now be in danger be taken care of.  Now citizens of only six countries will be denied visas for 90 days:  Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.  The U.S. refugee resettlement program will be suspended for 120 days.

The measure also removes the provision that allowed exceptions for religious minorities escaping persecution.  Thus, the courts can no longer construe it as being biased towards Christians and discriminatory against Muslims.

The new order also addresses the implementation problems of the first version.  Those who already hold visas or permanent resident cards will not be affected.  And the new policy will not go into effect until March 16, giving border agents time to prepare for the new measures.

Do you think this new executive order will get through the courts?  Is it now reasonable and just?  Will it still provoke outrage?

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Trump’s labor secretary pick withdraws

Andrew_Puzder_by_Gage_Skidmore_(cropped)President Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew, after several Republicans in the Senate said they would not vote for him, making his confirmation impossible.  This is Trump’s first setback in putting his cabinet together.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Though a Trump defeat, Puzder’s failure to get confirmed can be seen as a victory for Trump’s ideas.  Puzder has a history of hiring illegal immigrants, both in his company and in his personal house-keeping.  He has been an advocate for increased immigration and had been a supporter of the “Gang of Eight” style immigration reform with its amnesty provisions.   As labor secretary, he would not seem to embody the interests of the American workers who have been casualties of globalism and who put Trump in office.  See this for a conservative case against his confirmation.

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LCMS president on immigration issues

Cuban immigrants head to Ysleta Lutheran Mission in El Paso, Texas

Cuban immigrants head to Ysleta Lutheran Mission in El Paso

When it comes to immigration issues, there is the obligation of the State to enforce the law.  But, for the Church, there is also the obligation to minister to those in need.  Now that President Trump is cracking down on immigration–rightly so, many of us would say–our Lutheran Hispanic congregations and our various Hispanic ministries are dealing with a sense of panic and insecurity among many of those to whom they are ministering.  LCMS president Matthew Harrison has written a letter of encouragement and support to synod members in Hispanic ministry.

The letter has a lot of nuance, but it is full of sympathy for the immigrants’ plight.  Read it after the jump.

Note the reference to an official study of the issue from the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, written back in 2012:  “Immigrants Among Us: A Lutheran Framework for Addressing Immigration Issues.”


Photo by Erik M. Lunsford, LCMS News & Information

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Trump’s immigration edicts 

512px-Immigration_Reform_Leaders_Arrested_1President Trump has issued executive orders that provide for the building of a wall on the U.S./Mexico border; will cut off federal aid from “sanctuary cities”; and that will beef up border control enforcement.

He has also prepared an executive order that will temporarily halt the admittance of immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism (specifically, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia).  The current refugee program is being frozen until “extreme vetting” procedures can be put into place.  An exception is being made for immigrants facing religious persecution for belonging to a minority religion.

Details after the jump.

The wall will begin construction “in a matter of months.”  It will be built with U.S. funds, but Trump said that Mexico will reimburse us.  Trump is meeting next week with the president of Mexico to discuss how he is going to get that country to pay for it.  UPDATE:  After President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico announced that his country would NOT pay for the wall, that meeting has been cancelled.  UPDATE:  Trump spokesmen say that the wall will be funded by a 20% tax on Mexican goods coming into the U.S.

This is what Trump said he would do, and this was one of his major campaign issues.

Is this discriminatory?  heartless?  common sense? restoring “the rule of law” (as Trump calls it)? [Read more…]

How Trump will make Mexico pay for the wall

We had wondered how Donald Trump would get Mexico to pay for the wall along the border to keep out illegal immigrants.  Trump, who will be meeting with the President of Mexico next week, has released his plan.

He will tell Mexican officials that unless they pay $5-10 billion for the wall, he will cut off the money that immigrants send home.  That comes to around $25 billion, and is crucial to the Mexican economy.  If Mexico gives that one-time payment, he says, the cash could continue “to flow into their country year after year.”

Set aside, for a moment, the element of extortion and theft.  Set aside the question of whether the government should have the right to confiscate people’s money or control what they do with it.  Also set aside the enormous increase in the power of the presidency necessary to suspend the law so that he could do this by executive order.

I thought Trump was going to send back all of the illegal immigrants!  How could their payments “flow into their country year after year”?  If the immigrants will all be gone, as Trump promised, what will be the incentive for Mexico to pony up the money?  It almost sounds as if Trump hasn’t been telling the truth about his immigration policy. [Read more…]

Trump now says he is “softening” his position on immigration

Donald Trump is drawing back from the hardline position on immigration that brought him lots of primary voters.  He now says that he is open to “softening” immigration laws, expressing sympathy for immigrants who have been here for over a decade.  His earlier statement that he would deport all illegal immigrants seems to be off the table.

His “exact” immigration policy will be released possibly next week, but what has come out so far makes him sound like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ted Cruz, all of whom he pilloried on this issue.  See this response from the Cruz camp.

Do you think this is a sign of Trump’s growing realism, compassion, and “becoming presidential,” or is it a betrayal of his earlier voters?  Is this a welcome moderation from his earlier extremism, or does it show that Trump is just another politician after all?  Would a shift on immigration make you more or less willing to vote for him? [Read more…]