The flaws behind Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” policy


Trump speaking in Youngstown, Ohio

Grace Downing, Forum Editor

Three weeks ago, adding to his perpetually controversial list of vague statements outlining his plans to “Make America Great Again,” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump laid out his newest policy regarding the admission of immigrants into the United States. From start to finish, this “extreme vetting” protocol is riddled with massive oversights and hypocritical statements.

During his speech in Youngstown, Ohio on Aug. 15, Trump stated that he would call for an “extreme vetting” of those who seek entrance into the country, through a type of screening test that he described as similar to those he claimed occurred during the Cold War. Applicants would have to fill out an ideological questionnaire – a sort of litmus test – to determine if they should be allowed to enter the United States.

Trump stated that under this new policy, immigrants who do not share what he believes are core American values, will not be admitted into the country.

“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Shariah law should supplant American law,” Trump said.

According to Trump, his test would make sure that potential immigrants do not support the oppression of women, children, gays, and nonbelievers. Trump also adds that these ideologies he claims surround the Islamic State will not “be allowed to reside or spread within our own countries,” and that “those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted.”

Yet, once again, Trump is missing the very point of why the United States became its own country, and the reason the Constitution was created. Under the first amendment alone, it clearly states that as citizens of this country, we have a fundamental right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Yet, Trump wants to ban anyone from entering the U.S. if they support ideas such as following Shariah law – a prominent interpretation of Islamic law.

These seemingly righteous calls for immigrants’ support of religious freedom are coming from the same man who, just last year, sought to temporarily ban an entire religion from the country. Now Trump is swinging in the opposite direction, but is still somehow finding a way to undermine Muslims in the process.

Aside from his controversial statements on religious freedom, Trump also seeks to ban immigrants who are unsupportive of gay rights. Yet, it seems that many U.S. citizens – including 55% of Republican voters – would have a considerable amount of difficulty passing this litmus test. In June, the New York Times reported that 34 states have introduced over 200 anti-L.G.B.T. bills so far this year. Trump has said nothing about deporting those already in this country who don’t share these views.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s policy chief, Jake Sullivan, does not believe that Trump’s new policy is genuine.

In a statement to the New York Times, Sullivan said, “How can Trump put this forward with a straight face when he opposes marriage equality and selected as his running mate the man who signed an anti-L.G.B.T. law in Indiana? It’s a cynical ploy to escape scrutiny of his outrageous proposal to ban an entire religion from our country, and no one should fall for it.”

Despite the fact that these issues are extremely broad, and what defines the oppression of women or gays to one person may drastically differ from that of another, nowhere in his speech does Trump state how the government would deal with immigrants who simply choose to lie on this test in order to enter the country, which seems like a pretty significant oversight.

Trump has even cast suspicion on those descended from immigrants, stating that the commonality between the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., and the shooting that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., was the fact that they were both executed “by immigrants, or the children of immigrants.”

But those are just two examples from a multitude of shootings that happen in the United States every year.

CNN reported that, “according to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles data from shooting incidents, a ‘mass shooting’ is any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed. By that definition, we’ve seen 136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of this year.”

By simply mentioning two instances in the past year where the shooters behind mass killings happened to be immigrants – or descended from them – Trump is overlooking the shooters behind at least 134 other mass killings in this year alone.

Once again, Trump has seemingly changed his stance on an issue and expects us to forget the legion of widely controversial and politically incorrect statements he’s made on other issues throughout the course of his campaign. This policy is simply another grand and ambiguous proclamation in a long line of proclamations that Trump has failed to stand by or to even make realistically comprehensible.

Through all his clear oversights and overt contradictions, it seems that even Trump wouldn’t be able to pass his own litmus test.