The answer: no one knows.
Trump has already begun his assault on Muslims (and don’t kid yourself–that’s what it is) by enacting an executive order banning travel from seven primarily-Muslim countries (none of which hand anything to do with 9/11, by the way) for at least 30 days, among other points. Wicked Witch of D.C. Kellyanne Conway tweeted on January 28 “…he’s just getting started.”
She wasn’t wrong. After Attorney-General Sally Yates voiced her disagreement with the program and questioned its constitutionality she was fired and replaced. This is not a good sign.
One question that’s still hanging, though, is what the fuck is “extreme vetting?” When Trump introduced the idea last year he said stuff like, “we’re gonna vet ’em, and it’s gonna be extreme. It’s gonna be extreme vetting,” as if it was self-evident. Geez, having a conversation with the guy must be exhausting. Well, it seems to me that Donald Trump doesn’t even know what “extreme vetting” means.
In Trump’s executive order he directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to figure it out:
Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs. (a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, as part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission. This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.
So we don’t do this already? Maybe the part about “a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States” has something to do with it?
Gizmodo speculates that examining social media and browser histories may be involved with it, which is a scary thought. It could amount to a de facto Muslim registration. It’ll be interesting to see how tech companies respond to that.
Whatever the case, “extreme vetting” is a stupid platform. It means nothing in itself and just provides the Trump administration an opening to inject an unlawful and unconstitutional agenda. And it’s a stupid name, too. I thought we were over everything being labeled as “extreme,” as in “extreme sports” or whatever. I call it “extreme stupidity.” But if it would ban Trump from the US, maybe it’s worth considering.