“WATERED DOWN”? THAT’S WHAT DONALD TRUMP NOW THINKS ABOUT HIS OWN ADMINISTRATION’S TRAVEL BAN PLAN

It seems US President Donald Trump has just got up from a deep slumber of three months to realize that the reworked Travel Ban plan that bears his signature has been watered down to the extent that it is worthless and its original and a much tougher version is needed to be restored. Donald Trump had signed the “watered down” version on March 6. And like his earlier attempt to enforce a nation-wide travel ban plan targeting a particular community, this, too, was stayed by the US courts.

After the London Bridge terror attack on June 3 that left seven dead and dozens injured, Trump has slammed the re-drafted version of his administration’s Travel Ban order an attempt to be “politically correct”, in a series of tweets, he has said that “the US Justice Department should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to the US Supreme Court and the Justice Department should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – and seek much tougher version!”

It raises a pertinent question then – why Donald Trump allowed this watered down version to go through? Did he not study it before putting his signature or was he convinced that the modified version of Travel Ban kept his idea of travel ban intact, as the US courts later concluded?

On March 15, a Hawaii court blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt to reintroduce the controversial Travel Ban plan saying it was biased and discriminatory. The ban was upheld by a Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25. Trump had signed the new executive order on March 6, weeks after the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.

In the new executive order on Travel Ban, that, according to Trump is a watered down and politically correct version, three months after he signed it, the Trump administration had made some minor changes to the first version of the executive order which was issued on January 27 so that it could evade the courts. For example, the second order excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban, i.e., Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, and featured exemptions for green card holders, permanent US residents and for those already having a US visa.

But the courts weren’t satisfied. Comparing both versions of the Travel Ban executive order, the judge of the Hawaii found “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the executive order and its related predecessor.”

Trump had termed the decision of the Hawaii court an “unprecedented judicial overreach.” When his first Travel Ban executive order was stayed, he had slammed “the opinion of the so-called judge which essentially took law-enforcement away from their country” and claimed that the “decision was ridiculous and would be overturned!” He has continued his tirade against the US judiciary which he finds is rigged and compares it with that of the third world countries.

While alleging the courts to be “slow and political”, he claims that in order to help keep the US safe, his administration is “extreme vetting” people coming into the U.S.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP MAY ASK FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PASSWORDS IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO VISIT US IN FUTURE

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

That may be the case if the US puts into place one of many ideas that the Donald Trump administration is working on to introduce the extreme vetting measures for visiting foreign nationals as Donald Trump had promised during his presidential campaign.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, that has widely echoed in the US media and has started a debate, the Trump administration is considering, among many other things, to ask the travellers to hand over their mobile phones and the passwords of their social media accounts to see who they are ‘communicating with’ and if they are following an ideology that is hostile to the US interests.

How seriously the Trump administration is thinking about implementing these harsh vetting measures can be gauged from the fact that the US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly talked about it during a Congressional hearing in February. “We want to say for instance, ‘what sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet”, the Wall Street Journal report quoted him saying. Mr. Kelly added, “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come’, a favourite campaign promise of Donald Trump.

The extreme vetting process that the Trump administration is working on is going to be designed to start at the application level where one would be asked to share one’s phone contacts so that it can be probed against the information available in the US database and the changes are expected to apply even to people from friendly countries and allies like Japan, the UK, France and Australia, the report says.

EXTREME VETTING

Thorough vetting on airports is common, especially on the US airports after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, at times it raises controversies when some important person of a country is detained on the US airports merely on the suspicion raised by his name, like it happened with Shahrukh Khan.

Extreme vetting that is Donald Trump’s favourite phrase, intends to take the existing vetting process to the extreme level. He always uses it to convey his viewpoint on how to regulate entry of foreigners in the United States. During an interview last year, he had said that he didn’t care what people called it but, if elected, he would see to it that people from suspicious territories are subjected to ‘deep scrutiny’.

An NBC News report quoted Donald Trump saying, “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.” He reiterated this in his speeches and tweets.

After becoming the US president, he introduced his highly controversial immigration and travel ban plan targeting people from some Muslim majority countries. In defense, he tweeted that the US needed ‘strong borders and extreme vetting.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
@realDonaldTrump
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
6:38 PM – 29 Jan 2017

The US courts found both the versions of his travel ban discriminatory and in bad taste and blocked them. But extreme vetting was part of Trump’s executive order on travel ban that the court didn’t put a hold on.

The proposed move has already created a big debate in the US with civil society groups and advocacy groups raising their concerns. One of their main logics is what if other countries decide to do the same with the US citizens. Also, the concern is about its effectiveness. Terrorists who are plotting something against the US will try to enter the US with a clean slate to thwart these extreme vetting measures. And then the all encompassing issue of the ‘right to privacy’, that may again take the whole extreme vetting issue to the courts.

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMP’S ‘EXTREME VETTING’

‘Extreme vetting’ is Donald Trump’s favourite phrase. He always use it to convey his viewpoint on how to regulate entry of foreigners in the United States. During an interview last year, he had said that he didn’t care what people called it but, if elected, he would see to it that people from suspicious countries are subjected to ‘deep scrutiny’.

An NBC News report quoted Donald Trump saying, “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.” He reiterated this in his speeches and tweets.

After becoming the US president, he introduced his highly controversial travel ban plan, targeting people from some Muslim majority countries, which was banned by the courts for being discriminatory and in bad taste. In defence, he tweeted that the US needed ‘strong borders and extreme vetting.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
@realDonaldTrump
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
6:38 PM – 29 Jan 2017

In the light of Donald Trump’s failed travel ban plans and his harsh rhetoric on immigrants, refugees, foreign nationals visiting the US, Muslims and racial minorities, we are going to hear more and more of this phrase.

Like it is phrased, it is going to be more and more extreme in coming days as Trump and his administration will try to impose its narrow worldview in the context of Trump’s mounting failures and controversies.

Trump won the US polls riding high on an inward looking, divisive agenda and embarked soon on implementing it with prolific disdain for the global trade and military agreements including the NATO, his desperate emphasis on ejecting out immigrants and racial minorities, his audacious verbal launch of the wall along the Mexican border that miserably failed and most recently, his biggest debacle so far, when he and his Republican Party could not garner enough votes in the US Congress to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare, the healthcare programme launched by Barack Obama in 2010. Trump’s loss precipitates even more because he demonized Obamacare like anything.

But as most of these Trump policies have failed or have attracted domestic as well as international condemnation, Trump and his team may chose to play even harder its inward looking, divisive agenda that had initially propelled his supporters, in order to divert attention from his increasing failures and decreasing popularity. Indications coming out from the most powerful public office in the world tell so.

©SantoshChaubey