Opinion

A plea to my fellow conservatives: Stand against Trump's immigration order

Conservatives cannot and should not defend it just because it was signed by a Republican president. We have to speak out against it.

In theory, the way conservatives ought to react to President Trump is straightforward: Respect the fact that he won, applaud him when he does things we like, and oppose him when he does things we don't like.

This is so much easier said than done.

Trump is an ideological wrecking ball. He's hard to read (when should we take him seriously or literally?). Many still hold out hope that he might be a moderately successful conservative-ish president, and while the urge to call balls and strikes fairly is strong, so is the urge to be a team player.

And there's another reason. I'll own up to it. For many conservatives, progressive tears are delicious. So many hysterics on the left have clearly decided that Trump is not just an adversary, but the capital-E Enemy. He is Darth Vader and the KKK rolled into one. These panicking liberals are melting down. So is much of the liberal-friendly media. And conservatives take a certain pleasure in that. I do. I admit it.

But none of this should blind conservatives to the truly bad things President Trump is doing. On these issues, it is incumbent on every true conservative to speak out.

This is absolutely the case with Trump's immigration order denying entry to people from seven predominately Muslim nations. This order is very bad, and very troubling. Conservatives cannot and should not defend it just because it was signed by a Republican president. We have to speak out against it.

No doubt, refugee levels and refugee vetting should be subjects for discussion. So should security-related immigration restrictions. But this order went too far.

At least initially, it also applied to legal permanent residents, meaning America was barring people who have made their homes here, and who have already gone through years of vetting, and in many cases, who were granted visas for national security reasons, like working for the U.S. military and other key allies. There's just no way to defend that as good or just policy. This is not only foolish — it is wrong.

This order is also troubling because of the way it was implemented. The executive order was badly drafted, which suggests that its amateurish authors bypassed the White House Office of Legal Counsel. The order was issued without guidance, and on a Friday night, which led to chaos at airports, leaving local Customs and Border Patrol officials to essentially make up the rules as they went along, with no guidance from above. These snafus likely would have been avoided if the executive order had gone through the normal interagency process.

You don't have to fear a fascist coup to worry about an administration where people are just shooting from the hip all the time. If this is the regular order of doing business, the Trump administration will simply be a catastrophe.

Maybe this was a screw-up by people who don't know better. Maybe they'll learn, the optimist might say. But the pessimistic scenario is that this was intentional. It's a way to keep the permanent campaign on. Let chaos reign. Bypass the normal process to consolidate power in the White House among a very small clique who make all the decisions. (The last president who did this was Nixon...)

This executive order is wrong and troubling, in both substance and process. That is something conservatives, and all Americans, need to say — loud and clear.

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