Where’d Trump get the list of bad countries from which none shall pass (except if they have a Green Card and a court order)? From legislation passed on Obama’s watch, we’re told by various people defending Trump’s latest omnishambles. As Seth Frantzman says, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), the legislation referred to in the Executive Order was signed into law under Obama. However, Frantzman’s commenters make a few interesting points, which I summarise below.
Under the legislation, if you’ve visited one of those countries or are a national of them, this will prevent you from getting a visa waiver.
How’d those countries get into the visa waiver banned list, and is that Obama’s fault? Some of them appear to have been added by a Republican sponsored bill which failed to pass, but became law by getting tagged on to a larger spending bill. This letter is a complaint that Obama had weakened the provisions of that Bill, which, in passing, gives a history of how it became law.
From my extensive viewing of The West Wing, it seems that tagging stuff on to a spending bill is a way to force the point: if you refuse to sign the bill, other important stuff will not be funded. So, it’s not clear how much Obama’s administration approved of the additions (since they apparently went on to weaken it when it was implemented, perhaps they didn’t and their hands were forced, but I haven’t seen any public statements either way by them). Either way, they certainly didn’t ever put that list to the use that Trump has. To use a list to exclude people from getting visa waivers is quite different from using it to bar people outright. Implying that the list of countries in the Executive Order came from Obama is disingenuous.
Presidents Carter and Obama have blocked visa applications from nationals of certain countries at certain times (Obama in relation to Syria). Pointing out that the other lot did something similar and therefore can’t argue that Trump is wrong to do it is called the tu quoque fallacy.