Trump tweet reveals ignorance about basics of immigration law

Trump knows a lot about fear-mongering and not much about immigration.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
CREDIT: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

President Trump’s Muslim Ban executive order sparked a massive backlash over the weekend. The ban took effect immediately, leaving no time for immigration officials to even figure out how to implement it. On Monday morning, Trump defended this approach, claiming he acted quickly for the sake of the country’s safety:

This weekend, Kellyanne Conway similarly defended the swift implementation, claiming, “We’ve got the most generous immigration laws in the world, and we have big hearts as well. We’re compassionate.” This is false; in fact, the U.S. has one of the most complicated and unforgiving processes for immigration in the world, especially for the hypothetical immigrants Trump believes are such “bad dudes.”

It takes 18 to 24 months for a Syrian refugee to secure entry into the United States — not a week. Additionally, refugees don’t have a say regarding into which country they’ll be resettled, so there isn’t even a mechanism for abusing the system to gain entry to the United States, even over the course of months or years.

Even temporary visas, like for tourism, generally require at least a few weeks to process. David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and the former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told ThinkProgress that all visas are subject to security checks, which can easily take months — if they’re ever resolved. “They’re not getting in if they don’t go through a security check,” he explained, “so for him to say ‘bad dudes’ — it’s just plain lies.”

It’s also simply false that refugees or immigrants pose a particular danger to America. Trump’s desire to convince the country that there is a significant threat from these groups in no way aligns with reality, as a series of graphics from CNN illustrates: