Brooks: Immigration EO ‘Responds to a Problem That Does Not Exist,’ It’s ‘Outgrowth of Nativism’ With ‘No Pros’

On Friday’s “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that President Trump’s executive order on travel and immigration restrictions “responds to a problem that does not exist,” has “literally no pros”, has “a whiff of nativism,” and is “truly abominable and reprehensible.”

Brooks stated, “I’ve been inundated by 18 inches of orders, like we all have over the last couple of weeks, and some of them are good. I think some of them are completely toothless and symbolic. But this one on the refugees is the one that’s truly abominable and reprehensible. We can’t remind people enough that it responds to a problem that does not exist, that refugees from these countries have killed no one in terrorist attacks. That’s not where the threat has lain. It’s from homegrown people. It’s maybe from other countries. The 9/11 people were from Saudi Arabia and some other places. And so, it’s a response to nothing. And so, you have to think that it is just an outgrowth of nativism. And there has been a whiff of nativism, to put it politely, in a lot of the measures that this administration has done. And it has offended our career people in the State Department. It has offended our allies. It’s offended a lot of people around the world, for no good effect. Usually, when there’s some policy, there are pros and cons. There are literally no pros to this one.”

He added, “I grew up with Ronald Reagan. And he’s one of the reasons I think it was encouraging to be a conservative back in those days. And he had a refugee crisis when he first came into office from Cambodia and Laos and other parts of the world. And he said, we’re going to welcome them. And he did welcome them. And that was a Republican Party that did welcome the refugee because it basically believed in opportunity. It believed in possibility. It was a hopeful party. This is not a hopeful party. It doesn’t believe in opportunity, and  it does see possibility anywhere around the world. It sees threat and menace. And, frankly, it reminds me of some of the reactionaries in Russia, who think that the purity of the country is in the dark soul of the people who have been here for centuries, and everything outside is a threat. That has not been the American myth. That’s not the way we’ve defined our country.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett