Arit John and Alison Main, CNN, October 10, 2023
In the wake of Hamas’ deadly attacks on Israel, former President Donald Trump is turning to a strategy he employed during the 2016 campaign of using terror abroad – and fears of future attacks on American soil – to push for hard-line immigration policies in the United States.
During a Monday rally in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Trump renewed his pledge to reinstate his controversial travel ban that targeted predominantly Muslim countries as he sought to link the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza with US border security. He also asserted, without evidence, that the “same people” perpetrating violent attacks in Israel were entering the US through “our totally open southern border,” before speculating that some people crossing the border may be planning an “attack” on the US.
The former president’s rhetoric harks back to his 2016 presidential campaign and his first term in office, when he used fears over terror attacks stateside to block immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries.
During the 2016 cycle, Trump’s campaign called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” in the wake of the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, by suspected ISIS sympathizers. He also condemned the Obama administration’s approach to combating ISIS after then-President Barack Obama declared that the terrorist organization had been “contained” one day before the group claimed responsibility for a series of deadly coordinated attacks throughout Paris in November 2015.
“We have leadership who doesn’t know what they’re doing,” Trump said after those attacks.
Within days of taking office in January 2017, Trump signed an executive order for the initial travel ban, which blocked citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the country for 90 days.
The ban sparked protests at airports across the country and drew several legal challenges. The Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of the ban in 2018. President Joe Biden revoked the travel ban after he took office in 2021.
Since launching his 2024 presidential campaign, Trump has vowed to bring the ban back if elected and to expand it to include “communists and Marxists.”
Trump argued Monday that such a ban would prevent attacks similar to the ones launched in Israel over the weekend by the Palestinian militant group Hamas from happening in the US.