Vice, the online media giant, isn’t known for doing objective, balanced journalism. It’s more of a pop-culture pastiche – running stories about underwear with a built-in video game controller and guys who struggle with “toxic masculinity” (which sounds like the name of a gym shoe deodorant).
However, it’s new piece “The Nightmare of Trying to Get Around Trump’s Latest Travel Ban” sets new standards for hyperbolic lunacy. The article purports to tell the story of Omid, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois who was negatively affected by “the ban.” In reality, it’s just a blatant attempt at fueling hysteria over what appears to be a settled question of law.
8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) specifically authorizes the president to temporarily suspend the entry of any alien, or class of aliens, whose admission he deems detrimental to the interests of the United States. Based on that authorization, the Supreme Court has repeatedly overruled lower court orders blocking the implementation of the temporary moratoria on visa issuance to certain individuals from several Muslim-majority countries. In addition, the high court has stated that it will rule on the constitutionality of the so-called “travel ban” following hearings in April 2018.
Allegedly, Omid – who is never identified by anything other than his alleged Iranian citizenship and status as a student – had a brother who was killed in an accident at work. Believing they would qualify for a hardship waiver, Omid’s parents applied for a visa to attend their younger son’s funeral. Their request was denied.
According to Vice, and the open-borders ideologues they quote, the fact that the Department of State denies waiver requests at a high rate is evidence that the Trump administration is implementing a “de facto Muslim ban in violation of our Constitution and our immigration laws.”
Of course, that’s a shockingly misleading assertion from an organization with journalistic pretensions. As noted above Congress specifically authorized the President to implement temporary moratoria on the admission of foreign nationals. So, there isn’t any violation of our immigration laws. And the Supreme Court has neither overturned 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), nor allowed the president’s actions pursuant to it to be enjoined by lower courts. So that section of the law remains presumptively constitutional.
And what Vice declines to mention may be more important than what it actually does cover: Before any of the Trump executive orders relating to travel were ever implemented, nearly half of all visa requests made by Iranians were refused by the Department of State. That’s because the U.S. government has repeatedly designated Iran as the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Most Americans would agree that Omid’s situation is certainly sad. Many Americans have lost relatives who chose to live abroad and, because of geopolitical events, were unable to grieve with their kin. However, the real nightmare is trying to vet Iranian visa applicants. The Iranian government is not interested in helping the United States protect its national security and, in 2013, the Pentagon estimated that Iran was running a spy network in the United States that involved at least 30,000 people.
In the future, Vice might want to make sure that its chronic dislike of Donald Trump doesn’t get in the way of the facts. Although serious coverage of geopolitical events may be a bridge too far for a publication that considers gamer’s undies and toxic snowflakes front page news.