America is truly facing a crisis, emanating from the White House.
President Trump’s executive order on Jan. 27 that selectively restricts immigration and refugees creates a moral crisis, unilaterally imposing a policy contradicting American values and tradition.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and peers from 15 other states are right to challenge the order. Bipartisan action is also needed from Congress, which must do more than express concern.
While this editorial board was willing to give Trump a chance to prove that he’d make America greater, Friday’s order revealed an unacceptable level of ignorance and incompetence.
A crisis of leadership was shown by how the order was developed and implemented. The order was apparently produced on the sly by Trump’s inner circle, without input from agencies that protect borders, process refugees and manage immigration.
Instead of increasing Americans’ safety, this nod to Trump’s base displayed ineptitude. It created uncertainty in and out of government and caused immediate suffering because of its poor execution.
Abruptly upending border policy on a Friday caused mayhem for customs officials, airports, travelers and legal residents, not to mention refugees. Those affected include families fleeing violence, translators who bravely helped the U.S. military and elderly relatives of Americans.
Also caught in Trump’s awkwardly thrown net are valuable employees of global companies such as Microsoft.
Although not an explicit ban on Muslim immigration, the order carries a stench of the unconstitutional Muslim ban that Trump vowed during his campaign.
Refugees are already extensively vetted.
If President Trump wants to improve that process, he should start by gathering facts and suggestions from the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and other authorities.
Although Trump’s order is presented as a way to improve security, some experts say it actually weakens counterterrorism efforts. It is in America’s best interest to remain a welcoming, compassionate nation that can cooperate with Muslim-majority countries to combat terrorism.
Trump’s order repeatedly cites the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as justification, yet it does not apply to countries that produced those terrorists. It blocks refugees from seven other countries, citizens of which have yet to commit terrorist acts in the U.S.
Fears of terrorism are not unreasonable but must be kept in perspective.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 240,000 Americans were murdered, of which 123 were killed by Muslim Americans associated with violent extremism, according to statistics compiled by Charles Kurzman, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Reducing all of these dangers should be a top priority, but it will take more knowledgeable, deliberate and cooperative responses.
States, courts and Congress must hold Trump accountable.
Ferguson contends the order violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes the right to due process and contravenes the Immigration and Nationality Act.
In the meantime, Trump should own up to his mistakes made and accept that he has much to learn.