President Trump is desperate to score any wins he can for his administration. He has signed many laws into effect at this point, but none that have any real positive impact on the average American citizen, with a majority of Trump’s actions being repeals of regulations passed during President Obama’s tenure.
The major resolutions his administration is attempting to push so far have been the travel ban (Revised Muslim ban), rekindling the war on drugs, restoring mandatory minimum sentences, and turning healthcare into a tax cut.
The Muslim Ban
When the “Travel Ban” was first unveiled it was unquestionably a Muslin ban, with waivers for Christians from the six countries the travel ban targets (Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Yemen). While the ban has been shot down repeatedly by lower courts, the Supreme Court has temporarily allowed parts of the ban to go into effect, before the SCOTUS takes the case in October. The ban has been temporarily changed to restrict anyone from the six countries without a “bona fide” relationship from traveling to the United States for 90 days, or immigrating for 120 days.
A bona fide relationship has been classified as someone in your nuclear family, so grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members are not considered bona fide relationships. This will undoubtedly disrupt numerous weddings, celebrations, funerals, visits to sick family members and any other urgent family function you could imagine.
The optics of the travel ban are horrendous, so there must be some gigantic upside for the Trump administration to push this, right? Not so much, Trump himself stated: “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week.” At this point, there have been over 100 days of notice, with no attacks in the United States over that period, so by his logic, the travel ban is utterly pointless.
Drugs and Donald Trump – A Step Backward
Moving on to the Trump administration’s new war on drugs. The war on drugs was indeed not ended during President Obama’s eight years, but they did make substantial progress on an issue that cripples us as a nation. Unsurprisingly that progress has begun to make a massive u-turn. With an average of 144 Americans dying every day from drug overdoses, you would think helping drug-addicted individuals would be incredibly relevant to any administration, right?
With President Trump saying “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now” you would think he wants to help the drug addicted, right? Sadly, no. His quote on healthcare for all has been exposed as a massive lie with the Congressional Budget Office stating 22 million people will lose their healthcare due to the Trumpcare bill currently in the Senate.
The outcome of this? People will die. Probably someone in your community. I know that reads like a hyperbole like the claims of “death panels” by the tea party and other right-wing groups while President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was being (publicly) debated. Eight years passed and there wasn’t one death panel, but we will see our community members die because they hit lifetime caps on health insurance, we will see people die to addiction that could have been avoided with proper medical assistance. Not only will people be eliminated from our communities by drug addiction, but drug offenders that end up in jail will have a much more challenging road to recovery under the Trump administration.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences – The Final Nail in the Coffin
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed the 2013 directive from then AG Eric Holder that allowed judges discretion to set sentences lower than the mandatory minimum sentences that ranged from five years to life in prison when someone is convicted of a crime with a certain quantity of illegal drugs. This was done under the guise of enforcing laws consistently, but in reality, this will throw us back to the status quo of some individuals landing in jail for 20 or more years for just a few grams of cannabis.
Obviously, every situation can be different, but if I were sentenced to 20 years in jail for 5 grams of cannabis, I would not come out of prison with a cheery attitude towards the US government. These policies likely harden criminals that could have been easily reformed with some help, or likely in many cases, on their own.
Is it as bad as it looks? Mostly, yeah. Credit where credit is due. Trump has reversed his position on DACA, where when he was campaigning he promised to end the program immediately. Trump now will allow the program to continue, letting individuals that came to America as children remain in the country.