At DHS, home to the border patrol, career staff didn’t see the text of the order until Friday, the day Trump signed it, according to CNN. Customs and Border Protection officials told the New York Times they were only briefed (by phone) as President Trump signed the order Friday afternoon. Even John Kelly, new secretary of homeland security, only saw the final text just before Trump issued it.
DHS originally said the rule didn’t apply to lawful permanent residents, that is, to green card holders. But the White House overruled that judgment, so residents, who had gone through intense and repeated vetting, and whose roots may be planted here in America and who may be on a path to citizenship, were detained at American airports and teed up for deportation.
This isn’t anywhere close to rational anti-terrorism policy. This is, rather, incompetence and ignorance by a White House inexperienced in government and deliberately insulated from those with experience. If it is additionally tainted with bigotry or cruelty, that would make it worse.
Fully suspending the refugee program is overkill, for it is already rigorous. Very few people admitted as refugees — it seems to be only three — have been caught involving themselves in terrorism in the U.S. Three is too many, and suggests a need for better screening, but it is also too few to justify the blanket coverage of the latest executive order.