“It’s just not who we are” … … and other things that I wish politicos would stop saying.

Trump’s plan to temporarily halt visas for Muslims “until we figure out what’s going on” was met with broad-scale indignation.

To summarize the outcry: “It’s unconstitutional … and, even if it isn’t, it’s just not who we are.”

Oh, really?



Let’s dive a bit deeper on the constitutionality and the “who we are” arguments …


The constitutionality argument is easily dismissed.

In a nutshell: Yes, it would be unconstitutional to single out a religious group of U.S. citizens for “special” treatment – good or bad.

But – and it is a big but:

“The same protections given citizens do not apply to people who are neither American nor in the United States”. Source



What about the “it’s not who we are” argument?

Well, there is ample Presidential precedent for enacting similar draconian acts.

· FDR issued executive orders for Japanese-American internment during WWII

· Dwight Eisenhower’s deported of millions of Mexicans under “Operation Wetback.”

· Jimmy Carter froze immigration and visitation of Iranians during the hostage crisis.

Based on history, it sure looks like it’s who we are.


What about popular sentiment?

Sure, some polls say a majority of Americans are against Trumps plan.

But, look carefully at the wording of the questions – they invariably leave out the word “temporary” and just say “Are you in favor of banning Muslims from the country?”

Of course, folks say “no”.

A recent Rasmussen poll asked:

“Do you favor or oppose a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here?”

That’s the straight essence of Trump’s proposal.

The result:

“Among all voters, 46% favor a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, while 40% are opposed.”


Bottom line: Trump’s plan is constitutional and, as distasteful as it might be, there’s ample evidence that it is, in fact, who we are.

So, media and politicos, please stop saying “it’s not who we are”.

If you feel strongly, then argue your case on its merits …



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One Response to ““It’s just not who we are” … … and other things that I wish politicos would stop saying.”

  1. neel master Says:

    Professor Homa, I think you mischaracterize the “it’s not who we are” objection. A more accurate way to state it may be something more like, “It’s America at its worst.”

    After all, there is precedent for slavery too. But it would be accurate to say that slavery represents America at its worst. I personally think Japanese internment falls into that same category, as does a religious test for immigration.

    An objection you didn’t cover is the way that a blanket ban on Muslims would provide recruitment fodder for ISIS.

    P.S. – Greetings from New York! I graduated 5 years ago and the single piece of advice I give to current students is to take your classes, political disagreements notwithstanding. :)

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