Well, there is a huge difference. President Trump’s order is a blanket ban on people from seven different countries. President Obama’s proposal —if I am allowed to say so, the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon has had personal experience of this—was a specific issue about the visa waiver scheme. It was not about saying that there would be any kind of blanket ban on people coming into the country.
My final point on why the order is such a terrible thing for President Trump to have done is one that other hon. Members will want to talk about: the ban on all refugees from Syria. I recommend a piece that my brother wrote on the matter in The New York Times. Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people in the world, with up to 36 months of vetting and screening by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Defense and others. There has been summary detention of the innocent, clear discrimination on the basis of faith, and a decision to depart from the UN convention relating to the status of refugees. This ban is neither rational nor fair, and it will not make the country or the world safer; indeed, quite the opposite. I can do no better than to quote Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who yesterday said
“we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism…This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country. That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
I believe they are right.