Making this worse still is the central role the U.S. Government played in the horrors from which many of these now-banned people are fleeing. The suggestion that Trump protected the countries with which he does business is preposterous. The reality is that his highly selective list reflects long-standing U.S. policy: indeed, Obama restricted visa rights for these same seven countries, and the regimes in Riyadh and Cairo have received special U.S. protection for decades, long before Trump.
Beyond U.S. support for the world’s worst regimes, what primarily shapes Trump’s list is U.S. aggression: six of the seven predominantly Muslim countries on Trump’s list were ones bombed by Obama, while the seventh (Sudan) was punished with heavy sanctions. Thus, Trump is banning immigrants from the very countries that the U.S. Government – under both Republicans and Democrats – has played a key role in destabilizing and destroying, as Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, with surprising candor, noted this week:
It is critical to recognize and fight against the unique elements of Trump’s extremism, but also to acknowledge that a substantial portion of it has roots in political and cultural developments that long precede him. Immigration horror stories – including families being torn apart – are nothing new. As ABC News noted last August, “the Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history. In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.”