New York: Political correctness is a national security threat for Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president and his supporters. Banning Muslims? “Not politically correct, but I don’t care,” said Trump while weighing in on a spate of recent Islamic State-inspired terror attacks.
Trump told reporters last week that he’d seek to restrict immigrants from “terrorist countries” entering America. It marked a shift from a news release on 7 December saying that, if elected, Trump wanted “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.
Trump emphasised the need for a “proven” vetting mechanism and said that he would bar immigrants from countries that have been “compromised by terrorism.”
“We don’t want them in our country,” he said.
One way of implementing this would be to bar immigration from countries that the State Department calls terrorist havens or state sponsors of terrorism.
The New York Times quickly crunched the numbers and estimated that barring immigrants from countries the State Department calls “terrorist havens or state sponsors of terrorism would keep out about two million people” each year.
Trump’s ban would rely on a law that gives the president authority to temporarily suspend immigrants from certain parts of the world if it was “detrimental to the interest of the United States”.
Trump is actually taking a leaf out of former US president George W Bush’s 11 September, 2001 playbook. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the Bush administration implemented a series of critical — and sometimes controversial — immigration policy measures to respond to future threats of terrorism. Since all 19 terrorists who attacked the US that September morning were Muslims, acute scrutiny in the immediate aftermath of the attacks was focused on Muslims, with broader use of nationality-based screening and enforcement programs.
Under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), adult males from 25 predominately Muslim countries known to have an Al-Qaeda presence were required to be fingerprinted, registered and interviewed. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than 80,000 individuals were interviewed under the program, and over 13,000 were placed in removal proceedings.
However, even the Bush administration’s immigration policies did not blanket ban groups of people from entering the US; it only made it that much harder for people from some Muslim countries to enter America by calling for extra screening.
Trump’s campaign, however, has said that the US must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism. This would include countries from which foreign fighters have gone to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State and other extremist groups.
While the Middle East remains the most dominant source of ISIS fighters, about a fifth of all foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria now come from Western Europe, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR). The countries that produce the most Islamic State fighters per capita include Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
In Scotland in June, Trump said he would not have a problem with a Muslim from a place like Scotland entering the United States.
Meanwhile, world leaders are responding to Trump's unvarnished world views with equal candour. Russian President Vladimir Putin and far right-wing politicians in Europe have praised the presidential contender for his blunt style, forceful personality and anti-immigration views.
Trump’s anti-terrorism proposals make him the better option for Europe and for Hungary, said Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, over the weekend.
Orban, who has ordered border fences built to stop migrants, said that the ideas of the “upstanding American presidential candidate” relating to the need for the best intelligence services and his opposition to “democracy export” were also applicable in Europe.
“I am not Donald Trump’s campaigner,” Orban said but “I have listened to his proposals to stop terrorism, and “I myself could not have drawn up better what Europe needs.”