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Most readers oppose president’s order on refugees and immigration

More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll oppose the executive order President Donald Trump signed last Friday that suspends admission to the United States of all refugees for 120 days and blocks for 90 days the entry of any citizen from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. All are predominantly Muslim countries.

Trump’s action prompted demonstrations at airports around the country and a number of legal challenges. Saturday night, a federal judge issued an emergency stay preventing some deportations under the order.

The 90-day ban originally applied even to citizens of those seven countries who hold U.S. green cards. But over the weekend the administration revised the policy to exempt green-card holders.

In signing the order, Trump said the action was necessary to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country. Responding to those who opposed his action, the president later said “this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion—this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

Critics argue, however, that the order is discriminatory, targeting Muslim-majority nations. Some noted that it excludes Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries where the Trump Organization has done business. Those voicing opposition include leaders of major tech companies.

Locally, Rochester Institute of Technology issued a statement saying students from more than 100 countries worldwide are currently enrolled in the university including 45 from the seven countries listed in the executive order. It “informally advised” those students to not make any travel plans to leave the United States in the next month.

In a message posted on the University of Rochester website, Jane Gatewood, vice provost for global engagement, expressed “continued support to our international students, scholars, employees, and patients, as well as for our international collaboration and engagement.” She also noted that UR’s Department of Public Safety “will not detain (arrest), seek out, or assist in deporting a University student or employee solely on the basis of immigration status.”

Among Snap Poll respondents who identified themselves as Republicans, 67 percent support Trump’s executive order; by contrast, 87 percent of Democrats oppose the order. Non-affiliated readers—the plurality of poll participants—were aligned exactly with the overall results: 57 percent opposed and 43 percent in favor.

Roughly 1,480 readers participated in this week’s Snap Poll, which was conducted Jan. 30 and 31.

Do you support or oppose President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration?

Support 43%
Oppose 57%

What is your political affiliation?

Democrat 28%
Republican 30%
Non-affiliated 36%
Other 5%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here. To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at staging.rbj.net/dailyreport.


Like no other time in my adult life, I believe we all must speak up and oppose actions like this that pose such a strong threat to our American values. I am the son of two immigrants. My mom was one of just 1,000 refugees brought from Europe during WWII to Fort Ontario, N.Y.—after tremendous efforts to get President Roosevelt to help those who were suffering and threatened. We cannot go backwards.
—Ken Rosenfeld
This is probably the most misunderstood and miscommunicated legislation in a long time. Sadly, the clearly biased press will persecute and biased Hollywood will push the bandwagon. They should both take some time to understand what our commander-in-chief (not acting without guidance by the way) is doing to protect them. Ignorance abounds. Very sad that Trump can’t be afforded the same respect the anointed one garnered (with no history of accomplishments at all other than walking poor neighborhoods with a clipboard). Eight years of losers whining will be annoying.
—Doug Strang
I urge those who support the suspension of refugee admissions to put the face of their spouse, child or grandchild on the person fleeing persecution and ask themselves if they would still close our borders to those seeking safety and freedom. Reducing the admission numbers from 110,000 to 50,000 will leave so many families in dire conditions.
—Marlene Bessette, Catholic Family Center
Yes, if you listen to what the president is saying and take him at his word, this will be a short- term immigration delay of four to six weeks. Two or three months ago Trump mentioned at one of his campaign stops that he would take this action. He gave the Congress a warning that he was going to act and he acted. They could have done something and did nothing. I spent two years in Libya in the sixties. A lot has taken place since then and today we must be very careful. Because if we let our guard down, we will not have a second chance to prevent a terrorist attack. Just like in the sixties, we were very careful in Libya and today we need to increase all our protective measures and be very careful.
—Ken Pamatat, Creative Images
History shows that sometimes, you must swing the pendulum too far one way for a while to allow the end result to settle somewhere in the middle. We have been too far in the other direction for too long in this post 9/11 world we live in now.
—Jerry Denninger
President Trump’s immigration ban aimed at selective Muslim countries is neither in keeping with our values or our best interests, business and humanitarian. We can’t compete without a fresh infusion of innovators, workers, citizens and neighbors. Ask Silicon Valley. Ask Starbucks and Lyft. It is a thinly veiled attempt by Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to push his white supremacist agenda. We should protest and reverse it now before we do (any more) irreparable damage to our citizens, our trading partners, refugees everywhere, and our moral standing in the world.
—Kathy Muscato, retired from Brand Cool
Trump made a campaign promise to do this and is keeping it. That is one of the reasons he was elected. How refreshing that is in and of itself. It is obvious the “protests” against this policy are weak, look staged, like more fake news. Not representative of how the majority really feels. And while we are at it, why didn’t President Obama make the same kinds of phone calls President Trump has been making to business leaders, and talking them into keeping jobs here and adding even more? Obama famously told us he had “a pen and a phone.” He truly could have put both to much better use over the last eight years (if he cared to!).
—George Thomas, Ogden
Every president has some rocky elements at the beginning of his administration. If you choose, for whatever reasons, to rush through a blizzard of changes and keep their development restricted to the political cadre at the White House, the chances of making mistakes are greatly increased. This event is a perfect example. The meaningful question is whether the Trump administration can admit to a mistake, learn from this and improve its performance in the future. There is a huge difference between campaign rhetoric on a podium (or even in a vaguely written Executive Order) and actual governance.
—Mike Haugh
The insincerity of such an alarmist policy is made clear by the omission of Saudi Arabia from the ban. More Americans were killed in the Saudi-led 9/11 attack than any other. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists were Saudis. Yet Trump has business interests there and in the UAR, which was also omitted from his list, making it clear that Trump is playing arbitrary games with people’s lives for political points and perhaps for personal profit.
—Gary Bogue
This effort was very poorly executed. Knee-jerk tweets have turned into knee-jerk actions.
—Robert Franklin
This was the most ill-conceived, impulsive, and un-American action taken since the G.W. Bush administration. 
—Dr. Sue O’Brien, PT, Ph.D
The executive order is both unnecessary and counterproductive. It will not improve security and sends a message both to our allies and our enemies that the United States is afraid and withdrawing from its role as leader of the community of liberal democracies. We can be both vigilant against terrorism and welcoming of people who desperately need refuge from war. We are shooting ourselves in the foot. 
—Charles Pfeffer, Contextus
Like it or not, he is the president and if we don’t start supporting his decisions or at least looking at the entire situation before condemning it we may find ourselves in a civil war with riots breaking out everywhere. Look at both sides of the actions he has taken. We need equal rights, not special rights. We don’t need to single out groups; we need to come together as one people.
—David DeMallie
Un-American, impractical, immoral, ineffective, poorly thought out, and hurts the economy. Pure grandstanding, and will only increase animosity against the U.S. A nation of immigrants against immigration. Moronic.
—Jeff Schuetz
The travel ban fails to address the core of its stated purpose: to increase the security of our country. By the mere act of implementing the ban, it is more likely to have brought further destabilization within our borders and provided additional fodder for those that might present threats to our security throughout the world. Why not just issue a directive to further improve the vetting process without putting a halt to travel anywhere? Having said that, I suspect that the answer to an improved vetting process will come down to the practical arguments of what is possible (achievable), what is expedient, and what is affordable. As in other parts of our lives, the observation, “If it was easy, we’d already be doing it,” probably applies. Either Trump did not think this through or he has a different agenda than what this purports to address. Given his obvious narcissistic behavior, I suspect the latter.
—Curtis Levermore, RCL Ventures
The allegation that this executive order is not a Muslim ban lost all credibility when Rudy Giuliani later revealed that Donald Trump asked him how to do a Muslim ban “legally.” This religious-based test violates the principles of the First Amendment. Christians and conservatives alike should condemn the ban and its long-term implications.
—Peter J. Gregory, Esq. Rochester
International education is one of the top exports of the U.S. As an longtime international educator and business owner, I know first-hand the incredible assets (financial and professional) that international students, scholars, exchange faculty, researchers bring: Nationwide, they represent $36 billion contributed annually to our economy, not to mention their contribution to the country’s reputation as cutting edge in such areas as technology, medicine, and business management. This ban, which has yet to be vetted for its constitutionality, will have a chilling effect on the important international exchange that occurs between the U.S. and many parts of the world (not just limited to the seven currently targeted countries). U.S. higher education has a huge capacity for international students (they currently represent only 5% of enrollment but a major portion of revenue and intellectual capital). Unintended consequences of this ban can lead to our loss of reputation as the place for free exchange of information and as the home of the greatest higher education in the world. After 9/11, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand benefitted tremendously from students’ hesitation to come to the U.S. (along with the more difficult visa process). It was a wake-up call for U.S. universities, who have sought to create more welcoming environments for the usually full-tuition-paying international student and leading researchers and scholars.
—Ellen Zuroski, president, Zuroski Consulting
Fuel to the fire … and not well thought out or implemented. Pretty clear that Trump is but Bannon’s puppet.
—Scott Ireland
Obama did a similar thing in 2011 for six months for Iraq. Why didn’t no one protest then?
—John Bartolotto
We need to enforce the laws already in place to protect our country. The negative press has blown this way out of proportion. He promised to do this if elected and had to start on a moment’s notice to further protect us. We need to have some confidence in his team while they implement this order.
—Ed Rosen, Fairport
Look Chuck U. Schumer and anyone else, show us where in the Constitution (as you all claim) that gives anybody the right to enter our country for just any reason? Matter of fact, show me one other country in the world that allows legal entry for any reason whatsoever. Except New York State and our Governor!
—G. Palis
Discrimination. Deplorable action. Heartbroken for our country. Trump, Bannon and the other white supremacists have to go.
—M. Curtain, Rochester
The reaction to the restriction threatens Americans at home and abroad. We are much less safe because we heighten the anger of our enemies. We “play into the hands” of the terrorists.
—Art Maurer
Where to begin? It’s unconstitutional—targets a religion. It excludes countries where Trump does business. It is antithetical to the foundation of our (already) great country. And it solves nothing. More Americans are killed every year by armed toddlers than by jihadist terrorists.
—C. Lewis, Perinton
—Dorver Kendig, Webster
I think that we need a better explanation as to the long-term objectives for this 90day exercise.
—Jim Cronin
120 national security experts have said this will make the country less safe.
—Steve Lipson
This is a 90-day ban that instructs our government to address immigration with the seven nations the Obama administration labelled as state sponsors of terrorism.
—Dom Pullano
The president is in his right to do anything what is right to keep this country safe for all citizens, just like previous administrations.
—Dan Zarpentine
President Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do if elected. He has already demonstrated more actions in favor of this country than the former president did for eight years. True, the roll out of the executive order could have been better and so could have the rollout of ACA been much better, but that only effected millions of people rather than a handful. This is also nothing different than Carter’s actions with Iran. Something needs to be done, now before we are looking at “we should have done this” and “we should have done that.” The ban is temporary as stated until a proper vetting procedure is formalized, which the preceding president would not do. Our great country has not changed policy of allowing any person of color, background or religion, etc to become American; we need to have proper, legally enforced immigration policy, not wide open borders. Both my wife’s parents and my grandparents were legal documented immigrants, no DHS, no computers, no TSA, no two-year wait list. If they could it then, they can do it now. Otherwise, just leave your front door open to your house at night. What’s the difference? Oh, you don’t want someone in your home you don’t know or trust … what a concept.
—David Topian, president, WREA
This was all done for show to appeal to his base. It wasn’t thought out. It wasn’t done with input from Homeland Security or any of his team other than his tight inner circle. There was no homework done; they relied on seven countries that Obama had flagged six years ago rather than looking at today’s threat which would have included Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Additionally, they apparently did no homework on what measures were already in place, such as the 20-step immigration process that takes 18-24 months. It is clear that they rushed this through with very little research or homework so they could get maximum effect for their base right away. Additionally, the fact that they didn’t even consult their own appointees and Republican legislators shows they suspected that there would be resistance even from their supporters. And they were right. Lastly, to attempt to now call this anything but a Muslim ban is fraudulent when Giuliani had been contacted to draft what he describes in his own terms as a “Muslim ban” and the wording in the EO specifically makes exceptions for Christians and non-Muslims. Trump will now learn that there are consequences for not working in a collaborative manner with a variety of stakeholders. He will fail.
—Joanne Greene-Blose
I wholeheartedly support this executive order.
—Jerry McCabe, Irondequoit
I just feel like it is spreading so much hate. We should show a little love and compassion in this world.
—Max Kesselring
Should modify and allow citizens that supported our troops in!
—John Sackett, Sackett Farms, Byron
For all those who really think this is discriminatory against Muslims as opposed to just complaining about the newly elected president, just asked yourselves what the current and past Congress has done to improve our immigration system and protect the country. This ban is only temporary while his team looks at alternative methods to protect the country. Let’s give him a chance. Nothing seems to have worked to date. And for those who still maintain this is being done based on racist or an anti-religious basis and is mean spirited and heartless, remember what someone else once said: “Closing our borders isn’t mean and heartless. We lock the doors to our houses, not because we hate the people outside, but rather because we love the people inside.”
Why should our country be any different? 
—Keith B Robinson, Diamond Packaging
Poorly planned. Short-sighted. Tons of unintended consequences. Provocative for terrorists. Contrary to America’s core values.
—Tom Gillett, NYSUT
We need to protect the citizens of the United States. After vetting, we can allow refugees and immigrants.
—Brian Snyder
Red meat and distracting from underlying issues. Solves nothing, creates problems and exempted countries that sent bulk of terrorists to USA. Punishes all, not the guilty. Social media hysteria out of control too from both sides.
Dave Giambattista, Fairport
Classic case of misdirection. At least as important is elevating Bannon over the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff from a national security perspective—and that is barely receiving coverage. Extremely concerning.
—Dave Vanable, Honeoye Falls
AntiAmerican. Illegal. Religious profiling. Opens the U.S. to more terrorist attacks. Dangerous. Horrible. This is how Nazi Germany began.
—Eve Elzenga, Eve Elzenga Design
These seven countries are the same ones Obama banned when he was president. They were, obviously in his administration’s mind, the most dangerous. Why would it be discrimination for President Trump and not even mentioned when Obama was president?
—Ruth Ditch, Delta Square Inc.,
I do not agree with President Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration. I believe that this type of xenophobic action only fuels further hatred and distrust for all parties involved. I have to say, however, that no one should be surprised by this. He is fulfilling his campaign promises.
—David Wyman, Penfield
Screening is a good thing, but an outright ban on families, students, scientists etc. is downright un-American.
—Roz Goldman
What is not being reported in the media is that the seven countries referenced have been identified by the Obama administration to be “hostile” in that they will not communicate with the U.S. to provide the information necessary to vet refugees. Other nations where terrorists originate from have normalized relations with the U.S., therefore the FBI and Homeland Security has data in which to properly vet. This E.O. allows a defined period of time to develop proper, constitutional measures to keep Americans safe. Keep in mind that the real threat to be targeted is sharia-supremacist ideology, not all people who are of the Muslim faith. The hyper, biased reporting fuels a political purpose that divides this society. Rather than react, let this be time to pause, research this issues and work towards constitutional solutions.
—Vicki Vetere
The additional vetting this temporary ban allows is a measure to keep us safe.
—John Savino
This country is a nation of immigrants. If you’re not a native American, your ancestors immigrated here. We are an inclusive nation, not an exclusive nation. Hate has no place in our national culture, nor does the villifying of an entire demographic and religious following. Our nation was built on religious freedom. Trump’s insane idea that we can somehow screen out the world or filter out all the bad people ignores the fact that most terrorism on US soil since 9/11 has been committed by … citizens. The threat isn’t the rest of the world, it’s the bigots, misogynists and hateful among us right here in the US.
—Lee Drake, CEO, OS-Cubed, Inc.
While it would be worthwhile to evaluate immigration and refugee policies that were left over from the previous administration, this has been a shot from the hip with no thought given to aim. That said, the reaction has been typical of the left’s reaction to Trump in general—condemn first, think second. I’d like to see more calmness on all sides and stop looking to score points at the expense of the American people and refugees. Lastly, the last thing we need is Bruce Springsteen, Lily Tomlin or Justin Trudeau setting US policies.
—Daniel Herpst
Why are the protestors against defending our country from terrorists? The ban isn’t against Muslims per se, but rather against seven countries known to be cauldrons of terrorism. If it were against Muslims, it would include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, et al. Maybe the Saudis should be included as 18 or 19 of the 9/11 terrorists were from there. In any event, wasn’t San Bernadino, Boston Marathon, Orlando, etc. perpetrated by terrorists that were coincidently Muslim? If it walks like a duck.
—Art Elting, Palmyra
This order has wrought fear and chaos, and does absolutely nothing to make us safer. In fact, it only serves to further the interests of “radical Islamic terrorists” by reinforcing their belief that the West is at war with all of Islam. (Stunts like this certainly make it look that way. Perhaps that’s Bannon’s—er, Trump’s intent?)
—Christine Corrado
I’m embarrassed to say he’s my president. 
—Peter Bonenfant, Fairport
It was ill-planned, rash and harmful to our interests. Afghan interpreters who risked their lives for us and spent years going through a vetting process for a Special Immigrant Visa were pulled off planes. This does not “make us safe.” It is shameful.
—Lisa Schaertl
I definitely approve of Donald Trump’s actions regarding restrictions on who enters this country. My only issue is with how poorly this procedure was explained to the public and how it was communicated to airport employees. I realize that this had to be done with no fanfare and very little notice but it appeared that the airports were ill-prepared for dealing with the situation and very dysfunctional. I also think that more of an emphasis should have been made to the public and other countries that these restrictions are only in effect for 90-120 days for purposes of improving the vetting process and keeping the “bad guys” out and was not anything to do with the Muslim religion. “It is not a right to come to the United States, it is a privilege.”
—Paul Anken
“Those that would trade liberty for a measure of safety deserve neither”—Benjamin Franklin “Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I’ll piss on ’em, that’s what the Statue of Bigotry says. Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death and get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard.”—Lou Reed from the 1989 song “Dirty Blvd.”
—Jim Bertolone, president emeritus, Rochester Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
As a first-generation American, I am appalled at the actions of the administration. The immigration issue is complicated and requires fact-based review and analysis before any changes are implemented. Creating crisis and willfully ignoring the impact on affected individuals defies basic American values.
—M. Menz
This is clearly discrimination. This goes against our Constitution. This should be voted on through our Senate and Congress.
—Jennifer Apetz
Trump is carrying out what he promised as a candidate. That’s why he won the election. The American people want more vetting. This executive order is very moderate. It could have been much more stringent. The vast majority of Muslim nations not on the list have a total of 1.1 billion in population. Foreigners generally don’t have a right to come into our country unless we allow it; so it’s a privilege not a right. According to a Pew Research Center poll there is a disturbing percentage of individuals in the Muslim countries who are part of the ban support suicide bombings. Why don’t countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia take in refugees? Most of the media has again created hysteria and again is showing its true leftist bias. They’re not journalists but propagandists for the left.
—John Rynne

2/3/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.



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