Let’s talk about deliberate misinformation for a minute.
Here’s the myth du jour: The travel ban / Muslim ban / airport advisory is the only bulwark between the good old USA and tons of terrorists disguised as refugees.
The facts: The people being turned away now are people we’ve already vetted.
For months. Maybe years.
And that’s all countries. Not just the ones that are vaguely Muslim-ish but don’t have Trump business properties. (Note the absence of Saudi Arabia, the homeland of a plurality of 9/11 hijackers.)
A former immigration officer described the process for The Washington Post last week. It’s a long read.
So is this, from a brilliant friend of mine on Facebook:
Our so-called President is now saying that people are “pouring in” to the United States following Friday’s injunction against his unlawful executive order — and that “If something happens” while that order is enjoined pending appeal, we should “blame” the federal judge who issued the TRO, along with the “court system.” I honestly do not know WHERE TO EVEN START with this crap, but if we ignore — or even worse, get inured to — this moron’s relentless and astonishing lies, he wins, and we will all lose in the end. So, here goes.
1. The idea that we should “blame” the Republican-appointed judge, and the “court system,” for DOING THEIR JOB is equal parts terrifying and stupid. (This comment may, however, have the silver lining of driving home the point to Neil Gorsuch, who is a good, smart judge, that he must not be, and must never be, Trump’s little bag-carrier.) This is the sort of dreck that a tin-pot dictator spouts.
2. The idea that terrorists are “pouring in” to the United States is A LIE. It is A LIE. It is A LIE. It is A LIE. This is the current vetting process for refugees, as sourced from government agencies and reported by the NYT:
The current screening process for all refugees involves many layers of security checks before entry into the country, and Syrians were subject to an additional layer of checks. Sometimes, the process, shown below, takes up to two years:
1. Registration with the United Nations.
2. Interview with the United Nations.
3. Refugee status granted by the United Nations.
4. Referral for resettlement in the United States.
The United Nations decides if the person fits the definition of a refugee and whether to refer the person to the United States or to another country for resettlement. Only the most vulnerable are referred, accounting for less than than 1 percent of refugees worldwide. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps.
5. Interview with State Department contractors.
6. First background check.
7. Higher-level background check for some.
8. Another background check.
The refugee’s name is run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist or criminal history. Some go through a higher-level clearance before they can continue. A third background check was introduced in 2008 for Iraqis but has since been expanded to all refugees ages 14 to 65.
9. First fingerprint screening; photo taken.
10. Second fingerprint screening.
11. Third fingerprint screening.
The refugee’s fingerprints are screened against F.B.I. and Homeland Security databases, which contain watch list information and past immigration encounters, including if the refugee previously applied for a visa at a United States embassy. Fingerprints are also checked against those collected by the Defense Department during operations in Iraq.
12. Case reviewed at United States immigration headquarters.
13. Some cases referred for additional review.
Syrian applicants must undergo these two additional steps. Each is reviewed by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Cases with “national security indicators” are given to the Homeland Security Department’s fraud detection unit.
14. Extensive, in-person interview with Homeland Security officer.
Most of the interviews with Syrians have been done in Jordan and Turkey.
15. Homeland Security approval is required.
16. Screening for contagious diseases.
17. Cultural orientation class.
18. Matched with an American resettlement agency.
19. Multi-agency security check before leaving for the United States.
Because of the long amount of time between the initial screening and departure, officials conduct a final check before the refugee leaves for the United States.
20. Final security check at an American airport.
Sources: State Department; Department of Homeland Security; Center for American Progress; U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; Refugee Council USA
So, no, “bad people” are not suddenly dressing up like refugees and racing into the USA unimpeded.
It’s pretty easy to see that what you’re being told on Twitter by the president is simply not true.
And no, it’s not the same as what Obama did.