Extreme vetting is right for America

Extreme vetting is right for America

CW / Kylie Cowden

Extreme vetting: the very term evokes applause from some and fear and anger from others. Even before he was elected to the Presidency Donald Trump was highlighting our less-than-perfect immigration system and suggesting ways in which it could be readily improved. Conservatives embraced the message, as they vehemently opposed illegal immigration. Liberals viewed any attempt to stop or deport illegal immigrants as un-American because we are, after all, a country composed of people who – at various points in history – were immigrants themselves.

The argument pro and con went off in an unfortunate direction. It came to embody the general subject of immigration. But what it really was about was illegal immigration. Few on the Conservative/Republican side took issue with legal immigration. Even President Trump has been a proponent of immigration conducted through the proper channels. What he and others on his side object to is out-of-control, unmanageable illegal entry over our under-protected borders by people whose documentation is limited or non-existent.

As the niece of a legal immigrant, I appreciate the time and rigorous studying that goes into the process to become a U.S. citizen. In my aunt’s case, it took nearly two years. As a result – and rather ironically – she has a better grasp of U.S. history and possesses patriotism that surpasses many I know who had the good fortune to be born in the U.S.A.

Now President Donald Trump considers it his duty to guard the country’s borders and protect its citizens from people who we do not know and cannot properly document. We are living in an age of hatred of western culture. Just last week, the beautiful city of London was forced into lockdown following a terrorist attack. Though the media is hesitant to label such incidences as “Muslim extremism,” there seems little doubt that the attack on England may be precisely that. Of course, not all Muslims are bad guys. But, we know there is an extreme strain running through the Muslim population, specifically from certain Middle Eastern countries. They resent our way of life, with its religious freedoms and progressive moral standards. They take issue with the gay lifestyle and women’s rights. The most religious zealots believe their faith teaches that if they cannot convert the infidel, they must eliminate the infidel. So why then, is it so extreme for our president to call for a temporary travel ban until “we figure out what the hell is going on?"

He and the people who elected him want to ensure that no one enters the United States illegally. I happen to think he is correct. He is not calling for new laws; we have plenty on the books already. He wants to tighten up existing laws, and reinforce our borders. It seems like a sensible approach.

Chaos throughout the Middle East has created huge masses of people who are undocumented and difficult to vet. Americans, by nature, are generous. Our hearts may want to open our doors and welcome these people. But we must look at this logically if we are to maintain our sovereignty.

Our immigration policy is designed to identify and document the people who wish to come to the states. Vetting is necessary in order to better understand the character of the visitors and the intent of the visit. This process is a necessary step by any country attempting to ensure the abidance of its laws. The term “extreme vetting” was coined by President Trump. Though opponents suggest it is excessively harsh, it merely calls for more thorough adherence to the process than has been followed in recent years. Visitors with time-sensitive visas will be required to leave at the end of their terms, and anyone found guilty of violating our laws will be immediately returned to their homeland. Laws must be followed, and when they are not, there must be consequences. We expect this of our own citizens, so why is it too much to expect from people who are not?

Aside from the highly publicized criminal element associated with illegal immigration, there is the obvious concern for the financial burden on a country already drowning in a sea of debt. Government assistance programs that we pay for as taxpayers and that were originally intended for use by our own less fortunate citizens are now being extended to illegal immigrants. We aim to ensure that even illegal immigrants have available housing, food, healthcare and education. Communities accepting unprecedented numbers of illegal immigrants have been finding the burden of welfare assistance almost crippling. Hospitals and schools are unable to meet the demand of the sudden increase in population.

Perhaps the most blatant – and despicable – example of U.S. government generosity gone amuck is seen in our Veteran’s Administration. As the granddaughter of two WWII veterans – both of immigrant families – I find the discrepancy between the desire to meet the needs of illegal immigrants and those of our own veterans appalling. "In many cases, illegal immigrants are taken much better care of by this country than our veterans. We’re not going to allow that to happen any longer ... They're not on wait lists and dying like the veterans are.”

The obvious and most voiced fear is that all illegal immigrants tend to be lawbreakers. While this is, of course, not necessarily the case, the fact remains that people who have entered the U.S.A. illegally are, by the nature of that act, lawbreakers. Additionally, there have been a number of highly publicized incidences of serious crimes (rape, murder, drug and human trafficking) committed by people who are here illegally. In many cases, these criminals were already slated for deportation. Again, poor enforcement of existing immigration laws has resulted in these people remaining in our country.

President Trump’s executive order on immigration states that he “will indefinitely close U.S. borders to refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria and impose a de facto ban on Muslims traveling to the US from parts of the Middle East and North Africa by prioritizing refugee claims ‘on the basis of religious-based persecution.’” (Trump Signs 'extreme Vetting' Executive Order for People Entering the U.S.) At the moment, it is difficult for America to decipher between a radical Muslim and a peaceful Muslim. Additionally, the persecution of Christian minorities in Muslim-dominated countries is widely recognized, yet receiving little relief. The war on Christians in the Middle East is escalating. Some estimates state that in Syria, alone, the number of Christian casualties may be as high as one million “reportedly killed during sustained bombardments of the city of Aleppo.” As challenging as it is to identify which Muslims are radical and which are not, it is much less difficult to identify Christians who are being relentlessly persecuted. President Trump is being persuaded to allow these Christian to enter legally into the United States as true “refugees.”

I am in favor of President Trump’s call for extreme vetting. Some judges feel his policy is too strict, but I fail to see an alternative that will not jeopardize the safety and sovereignty of the American people and the Democratic system that is the foundation of our country. My aunt is a legal immigrant. She willingly endured the process to become a U.S. citizen that lasted nearly two years. She is a proud, law-abiding American. I also have a couple of close friends, Coptic Christians, who immigrated from Egypt. Their experiences only reinforce my admiration for the president’s determination on this issue. We must reinforce our borders and better enforce immigration laws.

Finally, it saddens me to hear people accuse President Trump of being racist and anti-immigration. They could not be more wrong, and they have but to look at his personal life to see that he is neither. In fact, two of his marriages have been to women who were born in Europe. Both Ivana and Melania have expressed their love for this country and believe that President Trump’s immigration policy will benefit the American people. The President is not anti-immigration; he is anti-illegal immigration.

America is a sovereign nation, and it should be noted that the people have spoken. President Trump was elected by an overwhelming number of electoral votes, per the laws of our democracy. As President, he is charged with following through with his campaign promises. A huge theme in President Trump’s campaign was to “build the wall.” A sovereign country must protect its borders, and the wall will be essential in the effort to prevent illegal immigration along our border with Mexico. President Trump is protecting the safety and rights of the American people. That is the most important role of any president and his highest priority. In every election, someone wins and someone loses. Not everyone is ecstatic about the outcome. But like it or not, Donald Trump was elected in a manner that is accepted and honored in our country. Perhaps not perfect, our election protocol is fair and honest for the most part. The outcome is considered representative of the wishes of a majority of American voters. The people have spoken. Now we must hold our new President to his word.

Samantha Fisher is a freshman majoring in political science and journalism.

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