WASHINGTON – GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump appears to be winning the great immigration ban debate.
Half of all Americans suddenly support a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States, according to a Reuters poll.
The stunning results represent an enormous sea change in public opinion that seemingly took place overnight in the wake of the Orlando massacre.
The question was posed this way: “Agree/Disagree: The United States should temporarily stop all Muslims from entering the United States.”
Before Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded dozens more at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning, just 43 percent of Americans supported the ban and 53 percent opposed it.
By Tuesday, the Reuters poll showed 50 percent now agree that the “United States should temporarily stop all Muslims from entering the United States.” Just 42 percent oppose the ban.
On Monday, following the massacre, Trump renewed his call for a temporary ban against immigrants from global trouble spots.
He was severely criticized by President Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and much of the national news media.
But Trump seems to be wining the argument in the minds of the American people, as evidenced by the sudden and dramatic increase in support for his position.
Trump took a lot of heat when he initially called for a pause in immigration from Muslim-majority countries after the deadly terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015. But, after the worst mass murder in U.S. history over the weekend, Trump doubled-down on his call to drastically revamp immigration policy.
He vowed Monday, “When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.”
“The days of deadly ignorance will end, and they will end soon, if I’m elected,” Trump declared during a speech at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Trump did not, however, call for the same exact proposal as the ban he pushed in December. He made a key refinement by making no direct mention of banning Muslims from immigrating, but called for an immigration pause from countries with a “proven history of terrorism.”
While he may have modified the wording of his proposal, the candidate’s support for an immediate and dramatic change in immigration policy was expressed with greater passion than ever, in the wake of the Orlando atrocity.
Trump emphasized, “The bottom line is that the only reason the [Orlando] killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here. That is a fact, and it’s a fact we need to talk about.”
The candidate trained his fire on the Obama administration, saying, “We have a dysfunctional immigration system which does not permit us to know who we let into our country, and it does not permit us to protect our citizens properly. We have an incompetent administration. And if I am elected president … it’s going to change and it’s going to change quickly.”
Trump recalled how he first called for a ban after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino “and was met with great scorn and anger. But now many are saying I was right to do so.”
The candidate then spelled out his plan in detail, beginning with how long the ban would last.
“It will be lifted, this ban, when, as a nation, we are in a position to properly and perfectly screen these people coming into our country. They’re pouring in, and we don’t know what we’re doing.”
Trump described what would give him the authority to establish the ban.
“The immigration laws of the United States give the president powers to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons. Any class, to be determined by the president, for the interests of the United States. And it’s as he or she deems appropriate. Hopefully, it’s he, in this case.”
Then, he vowed, “I will use this power to protect the American people.”
Trump explained what would follow the ban.
“After a full and long-overdue security assessment, we will develop a responsible immigration policy that serves the interests and values of America. We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom, have the same thought process as this savage killer. Many of the principles of radical Islam are incompatible with Western values and institutions,” he said.
“Remember this,” said Trump pointedly, “radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay and anti-American.”
“I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, Jewish people, are targets of persecution and intimidation by radical Islamic preachers of hate and violence.”
Just as important as the ban, said Trump, was the need to be honest with the American people.
“We need to tell the truth about how radical Islam is coming to our shores. And it’s coming. With these people, folks, it’s coming. We’re importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system and through an intelligence community held back by our president.”
On Fox News Monday, Trump said that letting in untold numbers of immigrants from countries such as Syria “could be the all-time great Trojan horse.”
While recognizing the terrorist who killed 49 people at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando was a U.S. citizen, Trump warned in a statement:
“Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.”
And, on CBS Monday morning, Trump said his proposed pause in immigration was need because, once refugees arrived in America, “They’re becoming radicalized by people coming in and they’re also becoming radicalized by family members and others. ”
“You saw that with San Bernardino, where we had somebody in the country – he became probably radicalized through her when he married.”
He also told Fox News on Monday that U.S. policy is allowing immigrants to enter the country who are “no different than this maniac,” referring to Orlando killer Omar Mateen.
Trump warned that Muslim communities in America protect the potential terrorists in their midst, such as the Orlando killer.
“They don’t report these people. The people know who the bad apples are, where the bad seeds are. And they don’t report them,” he said. “You’ll find out shortly, you’ll find out that many people knew that he was bad. Many people knew he had some kind of an idea for an attack. It happens all the time. Almost all the time. We need much better intelligence.”
Trump initially reiterated his call for a temporary ban, or pause, on immigration from Muslim-majority countries on Sunday with tweets that read:
“What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough.”
“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
On CBS, Trump blasted critics who claim his comments on Muslims are inspiring terrorists.
“Well, did you see what happened yesterday? They weren’t about my words,” he insisted. “Look at the people who were killed yesterday. This is just the beginning, OK? This is going to get worse and worse.”
In fact, Trump scorched President Obama and Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for their own rhetoric, claiming we will see such attacks “many times over” if they don’t begin blaming “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Believe me, all I want is safety, I want safety for this country,” Trump told CBS over the phone. “What happened yesterday will happen many times over with a president like Obama that doesn’t even want to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism.'”
Trump even suggested Clinton had an ulterior motive.
“Hillary won’t use [the term], and the reason Hillary won’t use it is she’s afraid to offend her boss because she doesn’t want to go to jail,” he said.
Trump’s remarks appeared to get under Clinton’s skin.
Distancing herself from Obama, who never mentioned Islam or Muslims in his televised statement Sunday on the Orlando terror attack, the former secretary of state said, “[W]hether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I’m happy to say either. I think they mean the same thing.”
Speaking on CNN Monday, she also criticized Trump’s proposed pause on Muslim immigration, saying, “What I won’t do, because I think it is dangerous for our efforts to defeat this threat, is to demonize and demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.” She added, “That plays right into ISIS’ hands.”
When WND asked Trump supporter and conservative commentator Ann Coulter whether it was time for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, she replied, “If I’d been around, I’d have thought it was time in 1965, about two minutes after Teddy Kennedy’s immigration act became law.”
In an email, she added, in all capital letters: “WHY DID WE DO THIS TO OUR COUNTRY?”
Asked the same question, Middle East expert Clare Lopez told WND, “Yes, I agree we need a comprehensive review of immigration and refugee resettlement policies. If we know that potential immigrants hold an ideology antithetical to the Constitution, and want to replace it with shariah (Islamic law), it doesn’t make sense to welcome them in. So, yes, at least a temporary moratorium till we work through this.”
In an interview with WND published Monday, Lopez said she thought Islamic immigrants themselves might be too busy becoming settled to become too involved in jihadism. But the interest is growing among their American-born offspring.
“What we are seeing it is the first and second generation that are more active, and I think that’s the pattern were going to see going forward,”Lopez concluded somberly.
She cited a Pew Research Center survey on the attitudes of Muslims around the world and observed how a disturbing percentage supported Shariah as the law of the land.
Indeed, support for Shariah as the law of the land in Afghanistan, where the Orlando shooter’s parents came from, is a staggering 99 percent.
“These are the countries of origin for our Muslim immigrants,” observed Lopez. “I mean, where do we think our Muslim refugees are immigrants are coming from? They come from the countries in the Pew Research survey where 80 percent more of the respondents support Shariah as one and only law of the land.”