Friday, March 17, 2017

Respecting The Office

"Speaking about Trump's original 'travel ban' on his CNN show, the respected commentator Fareed Zakaria explained that 'It violates the Geneva Convention [which] requires that you take in some refugees'. While this assertion is technically incorrect, its intended public message about the president's lack of compassion is clear."
"Unfortunately, it misinforms about the actual law: The U.S. Supreme Court interprets the convention's limited rights as even allowing the Coast Guard to prevent refugees on a boat from approaching U.S. territorial waters."
"The new U.S. 'travel ban' may be contrary to the humanitarian spirit behind the Refugee Convention, but it does not violate any of its specific provisions. As the U.S. Supreme Court explained when it authorized President Clinton's harsh treatment of Haitian boat people, which eventually led to the establishment of a large offshore refugee camp at Guantanamo: 'a treaty cannot impose uncontemplated extraterritorial obligations on those who ratify it through no more than its general humanitarian intent'. There may be moral or political reasons to oppose the new executive order, but not legal ones related to the Refugee Convention."
Michael Barutciski, lawyer of refugee protection, Glendon College, Toronto
One may regard President Donald J. Trump as an uncouth and personally offensive man, but he holds the dignity of an office presiding over the executive function of the United States of America. This is a man -- unsavoury as he may seem to many within the American population, as well as the world outside the United States -- whose agenda succeeded in persuading enough American voters to bring him to the White House.

That there are some justices in the United States whose job it is in the real world to uphold American law, who take it upon themselves to chastise and block executive orders imposed by the President of the United States of America, makes a mockery of the law itself. President Trump's adversaries among the American people are numerous enough. But it is an amazing phenomenon that Americans choose to assault the new leader of the free world, rather than accept that there are sufficient restraints posed by their system of governance to ensure that his appointed leaders are more careful in their administration than the verbose and crude utterings of the president would suggest.

The grudging unwillingness of the American public who consider themselves democrats and liberals to give opportunity to their political adversaries in a political system where one or the other normally takes office, is no kind reflection of democracy in action. A majority of the vote required to bring either of two contestants for the American presidency prevailed for the election of Donald Trump, irrespective of how much he may be loathed by those who imagined that Hillary Clinton would make a fine president.

Surely Americans must be aware of the spectacle they make of themselves in their mass protests against the elevation of a man of business possessed of a sturdy ego and a twisted sense of self, as a reflection of their own commitment to democracy and the welfare of the public weal. The fractiousness that has developed and continues to wreak havoc in America does it little credit. The uproar over the new president's resolve to bring his campaign promises to fruition reflects the mindset of all new presidents.

The order that went out from the Oval Office was for a temporary suspension of the issuance of visas and refugee settlement for the reasonable enough purpose of scrutinizing screening procedures in place and which have failed all too often. Discretionary powers authorizing entry on a case-by-case basis for visa applications and refugees are also in place. As is the authorization to resettle up to 50,000 refugees to the end of the fiscal year, no mean intake at all.

The six Muslim-majority countries whose citizens have been temporarily restrained from immigration and refugee selection represent countries from which emanate threats both internally and internationally. Every country has a right and an obligation to itself and its citizens to ensure as much as is possible, that entry will be denied to anyone who presents a potential danger to the security of the country and its citizens. The kind of caution reflected in this order is simply good sense; temporary and preemptive.

As Mr. Barutciski points out, the posturing of Canada's Prime Minister that refugees could be assured that "Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith", is as ill-considered and egotistical as anything emitted from the Twitter feed of President Trump, since Canadian visa policy does not make it possible for people from the very countries designated by Mr. Trump to enter Canada legally. And as Chancellor Angela Merkel discovered to her consternation and political longevity, generously opening borders to floods of unaccompanied young males leads down the road to problems the German public discovers to be more than inconvenient.

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