Trump’s Executive Orders Are Gilded, Empty Campaign Promises
Trump’s administration has not phased in its executive orders.
Banning Muslims was a campaign promise of the President’s, and he is moving quickly to act on it by issuing an executive order Friday suspending immigration from most of the Middle East. Discussing the order the President said “We don’t want them here. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love our people deeply.” President Trump attempted to ‘conway’ his audience, claiming that the U.S. admits more Muslim than Christian refugees as a way of justifying the preferential treatment given to Christians in the order. Since 2002 the U.S. has admitted 399,677 Christian and 279,339 Muslim refugees, with about 37,000 of each religion admitted in 2016.
Whatever you may think of this executive order (illegal, evil, the best thing ever, #MAGA) it reveals structural problems with the way the Trump administration has been attempting to govern for the eight days he has been in office. Here are the three main process issues.
The suspension of visas and immigration from these countries was halted as of the moment President Trump signed the order. It takes time, however, to properly implement a change of this magnitude. When dealing with large organizations like the Federal Government, slower is often better. President Obama issued an executive order giving Federal Employees a half day over 13 days before, not 12 hours warning for a complete immigration policy change. Implementing policy at this speed is a lot like leaping out of a car going 60mph, which is why executive orders are not the correct political tools when you start messing with peoples lives. By moving so swiftly President Trump has literally trapped people in airports or in countries they were connecting to the U.S. through.
Various groups of green card holders (legal immigrants who are not citizens) were trapped by the suddenness of this order. Google, after harshly criticizing the order, recalled more than 100 employees who had been working overseas and would be affected by the order. Due to the rapid nature of the order, these workers will be trapped along with anyone else attempting to enter the U.S. from these countries. American business and the stock market do not thrive, in fact they struggle immensely, in the face of upheaval and uncertainty. Damaging the ability of Google to do international business and more importantly source the best ideas and talent from all over the world seems unwise for a country whose technology has become its chief export.
Trump’s administration does not consult or communicate with outside council.
Usually Presidents consult with the agencies their executive orders will impact. Listening to the people responsible for the day to day administration of various sectors is considered wise. Even if a President wishes to chart his own course, it helps to clarify the meaning and intent of the orders with the agencies affected. A great example of this is the federal hiring freeze. The freeze exempts “military personnel.” Great, does this apply only to those in uniform or also to the million or so civilian support staff that work for the military? A small amount of communication could save all the time the lawyers at the Department of Defense are spending arguing over this issue. Being legally and contextually precise in the wording of your orders is essential if you want them to be understood and more importantly implemented in the desired fashion. Consulting with Congress can also be a good idea, and it is unclear how much communication flows between the White House and Capitol Hill these days. Trump does not reign or rule, he administrates, which traditionally involves communicating with and working through a bureaucracy.
All the proclamations issued by the Trump White House are temporary.
Not a single one of the pieces of paper President Trump has signed will actually build new policy, in fact most of the orders are temporary. A temporary freeze on hiring does not fix the problems of the federal workforce, declaring you will build a wall does not place a single stone, and banning immigrants does not protect Americans from terror. After having spent so many years criticizing Obama for his executive order heavy governing style and lack of consensus building, you would think President Trump would be willing to learn from that particular mistake. With this executive order on immigration, President Trump has done nothing lasting to deal with terrorism while significantly raising the anger and threat directed at Americans abroad. Every executive order has been met with pubic outcry and who can remember the American people ever protesting executive orders? President Trump has produced no new law, policy, or process, and is abysmal on implementation. These executive orders damage our country and our people without producing a lasting effect. President Trump’s actions mimic his potato chip diet, full of salt and fat that will do serious damage to the heart of our country without providing the necessary energy to fuel growth or change.