No matter which side of this issue people are on, the government is in crisis communication mode … or it should be. The problem seems to be, though, that the government representatives are just as divided as the citizens, immigrants, and the global community. A separatist stance could be taken against the rest of the world and whatever opinions they have, but in the age of social media and people around the world feeling they too should have a voice, separatist thinking may no longer be an option for any country.
It all started with a Trump’s Presidential Executive Order, backed by a law passed by Congress during Truman’s time in office. The 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act – specifically clause 212(f), was used to put a temporary ban on travel for those who are citizens of seven nations. Those seven countries were determined during the Obama administration (February 2016 under a visa waiver program) as being ones that are “state sponsors of terrorism” (Iran and the Sudan). Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq are included as “areas of concern” as listed by Intercept.com.
By law, the President holds the power to limit or expand refugee admissions without exception. Visa restrictions need a bit more, but that’s where the nation’s status with terrorism factors in and gives him power to do so. All of this is further supported by the 2002 Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act.
Then several US Congressmen and the ACLU went to court to get a hold on the ban, and they got that, but then at least several customs agents continued to move forward with the terms of the ban. Oh my … what an uproar. Over 5,000 protesters showed up at JFK Airport in New York City within about an hour of the ban being signed.
Then to top all of that off, the then-interim acting US Attorney General throws in her voice even before the court order saying she refused to follow the ban. Can Washington DC and New York politics become any more of a political soap opera? No matter how many crisis communications experts show up to the table to help, is it possible when the division of opinion isn’t just among the people, but almost more so among the leadership? Whose voice will be presented to calm the waters when there doesn’t seem to be a voice of reason capable of reaching any more than half of the people and leaders?
According to Omar Jadwat, the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project director, “The court’s order could not be clearer… they need to comply with the order. It’s enough to be a serious concern.” Ya’ think?! If that were the only crisis in communication our nation was facing, it would be difficult, but doable.
Instead, the communications crisis goes so far beyond that, and it’s not just about communications. The nation is in crisis and polarized to such an extent that unless someone can bring a voice of reason that reaches a significant percentage, there’s no telling what could happen. It needs to be well above 50% or this fracture could take years to even have the appearance of being healed.