Saturday, January 28, 2017
The text of the recent Executive Order regarding immigration and refugees is available here. One provision of that Order states:
(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.
I tend to think that a relatively stable and prosperous country like the United States should be generous -- prudent and deliberate, but generous -- when it comes to accepting refugees, and so I am -- without, I admit, having studied the matter closely -- inclined to think the Order is, at least in some respects, misguided and bad policy. I am not sure, however, that I agree with those who are characterizing the particular provision quoted above as unfair or immoral. If we assume, as it seems to me we must, that our ability to admit refugees -- and, again, I think we can and should admit a lot of them -- is not infinite, then we are going to have to employ some criteria to identify who will be admitted and who will not. It seems, to me, reasonable and defensible to prioritize -- assuming that "prioritize" doesn't mean "categorically or reflexively reject all others" -- "refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution." (I am putting aside, for now, questions about that the language regarding "minority religion in the individual's country of nationality," which, given the current givens, would probably in practice favor Christian applicants.)
I'd welcome other MOJers' views, especially President Scaperlanda's!