After a little over sixteen years, New York City was once again hit with another terrorist attack.
Tuesday afternoon, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a Uzbekistani man who has been living in the U.S. since 2010, drove a pick up truck into cyclists on a bike path, killing eight and wounding eleven. It was reported that Saipov yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. Since the attack, we learned that Saipov was radicalised through ISIS propaganda.
Controversy arose Wednesday morning when President Trump described the U.S. Justice System as a “joke” and said that U.S. is “a laughing stock” around the world. He declared that he wanted to have a quick and harsh judgment and suggested sending Saipov to the infamous prison Guantanamo Bay. He also announced that he wants to cancel a visa lottery immigration program that he claims “allowed Saipov in” the U.S.
As terrible as it is to say, terrorist attacks seem to bolster Trump’s presidential agenda and talking points. As one who favors a hardline stance on Islamic terrorism, Trump does not hesitate to use terrorist incidents like this one to advance his agenda to limit immigration and to support his travel ban.
As a patriotic person, I want our president to be successful. However, I cannot say that I can support President Trump’s immediate plans after the attack.
While I believe that terrorists and hard criminals deserve harsh punishments for their abhorrent acts, the idea of sending Saipov to GITMO is just too far-fetched. First, no person has been detained in GITMO since 2008, and after many debates over whether to close the prison, it is unlikely this will be able to be done. Second, numerous legal issues would rise from transferring a suspect from New York to GITMO.
Trump’s plan to do away with the visa lottery program is a much more direct and straightforward policy, but like his proposed plan with GITMO, there is no way it can be achieved. The visa lottery program is not new, and this program was created with bilateral support in Congress. In addition, it is important to point out that there is nothing, so far, to indicate that the visa lottery system is allowing terrorists to come into the U.S. Saipov lived in the U.S. for seven years, and he was radicalised in the U.S.
Trump has had some of his most contested battles with immigration reform during his year of presidency. His travel bans are suspended for the most part and are pending in courts. He was forced to settle on a compromise on DACA in order to avoid a government shutdown. There is little to no talk on the “border wall.” Given all that has occurred, I simply don’t see immigration reform being passed in the near future. His immigration plans are too divisive, and he will not be able to get the support necessary to pass legislation. Even with rising terrorist attacks, I don’t see the Supreme Court supporting any legislation or executive action unless it is very narrow and serves a real and immediate national security interest.
There have been a lot of distractions for the Trump presidency recently. Where do I even begin? There is the ever-growing spectre of Russian collusion. Two top level people connected to the Trump campaign have been indicted. Another has pled guilty. There are also many investigations into the killing of four American soldiers in Niger. Why were the soldiers there? Why was one of the soldiers left behind for forty-eight hours? Was there an intelligence failure?
With almost one year in the books, there is a growing sense of urgency for Trump. Next on Trump’s plate is tax reform. Many of Trump’s supporters must be growing wary of his failed policies and legislations. If he wishes to be more successful, Trump will need to come up with better and more thoughtful legislation, one that comports with the Constitution.