Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement kicked off a series of chain reactions inside and outside the United States. Trump claimed the reason for his decision was that the climate agreement was harmful to the economy and U.S. industry, but the immediate reactions came precisely from that sphere: Almost every Silicon Valley company and Microsoft have publicly expressed their views contrary to this defection. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has built an empire out of a sustainable future with the production of electric cars, resigned from the White House workgroup to which he belonged. Robert Iger, Disney’s CEO, also quit in opposition to Trump’s measure.
But the firmer and more destabilizing opposition comes from more than 60 mayors and governors who have declared that their states and cities will not follow the president, but will remain faithful to the Paris Agreement. New York City, New York state, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Boston were the first to begin this mutiny, but the list is likely to grow; California Governor Jerry Brown said he wanted to organize a whole movement against the president, and the states of New York and Washington announced a formal climate alliance committed to following the decisions of COP21. Government buildings in many cities, including New York and Boston, were lit in green.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson himself, who on Friday urged Trump not to abandon the Paris climate agreement, speaking to reporters before a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, said the U.S. will continue to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, despite Trump’s decision. The president is isolated internationally and domestically.
And from this position, just before midnight between Thursday and Friday, he made another controversial move, asking the Supreme Court to reinstate the travel ban from some Muslim-majority countries to the US. So far, this ban has been blocked by lower courts.
Again, it’s “Trump against everybody,” or at least half of America. States and sanctuary cities committed to protecting their residents are radically opposed to the Muslim ban. At the same time Trump appealed to the Supreme Court, Bill De Blasio, mayor of New York, hosted a great Ramadan dinner for the Muslim community at his official residence at Gracie Mansion.
These two approaches are irreconcilable. On one side, there is a desire for inclusion, and on the other, closure affects everyone. In fact it goes beyond the request to reinstate the infamous Muslim ban. Trump has cracked down on entry visas to the U.S. At the discretion of the consular authorities, asylum seekers of any country will have to respond to additional questions, as if additional checks on the actual identity of the applicant are considered necessary. The new questions focus on their social media activity over the last five years and information about the last 15 years, including phone numbers, email addresses, numbers of previous passports, work history and information about trips they’ve made.
This will cause delays in granting visas, and it will be almost impossible for many to remember all the nicknames used on social networks. These types of questions are likely to lead to rejection of requests due to innocent mistakes or oversights. Furthermore, the new questions give arbitrary power to the consular authorities to determine who can get a visa or not, as reported by Babak Yousefzadeh, president of the order of Iranian-American lawyers.
The new questionnaire has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget, a division within the White House. According to Politico, as of April, the U.S. authorities had already released almost 20 percent fewer visas to citizens of 50 Arab or Islamic countries, compared to the same period in 2016. Limiting the sample only to the Arab countries, the approval of entry visas has dropped almost 30 percent.
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