Travel ban’s optics are unAmerican

President Donald Trump’s advocates are quick to defend his executive order on immigration by pointing out it is not a ban on Muslims, but merely a stiffer vetting of refugees from countries where Muslims are a majority.

Trump’s measure prohibits admittance of refugees to the U.S., as well as temporarily freezing immigration from seven nations – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Refugees from Syria are indefinitely banned. Trump claims his executive order – already blocked by one federal judge – parallels a much quieter measure from former President Barack Obama in 2011 banning visas for Iraqi refugees for six months, although it had a more narrow focus and led to stronger vetting today.

While there are multiple contrasts between the restrictions implemented by the Obama and Trump administrations, there is one difference in how the two presidents went about implementing their policies.

Trump, who ran a flashy, non-substantive campaign that usurped the spotlight from all other presidential hopefuls, should understand the optics surrounding his decision.

Frankly, they’re awful.

Using an executive order, without any legislative or judicial dialogue, was an unreasonable approach and creates the perspective his administration is willing to step on civil liberties to protect American interests.

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster called the executive order a violation of the state and federal constitutional rights that are fundamental to democracy.

"Religious liberty has been and always will be a bedrock principle of our country, and no president can change that truth," Foster said in a statement. "Targeting immigrants and others because of their national origin or faith violates that core principle and ignores our history as a nation of immigrants."

We strongly support any recommended vetting modifications from global security experts to improve public safety. We welcome a bipartisan, constructive back-and-forth on travel limitations to countries harboring deep ill will to Americans.

We cannot, however, support the poor execution of the Trump administration’s roll-out of this policy and the president’s not-so-hidden nationalistic message behind it.