On Saturday, a 5-year-old boy whose mother is Iranian was reportedly detained for hours by himself at Washington Dulles International Airport as President Donald Trump’s immigration order was enforced.
Asked on Monday whether Trump’s order — which critics have called a “Muslim ban” — should apply to 5-year-old children, White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a clear answer: yes.
“That’s why we slow [the process] down a little,” Spicer said at the daily press briefing. “To make sure that if they are a 5-year-old, that maybe they’re with their parents and they don’t pose a threat. But to assume that just because of someone’s age or gender or whatever that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong.”
The argument, essentially, is that basically anyone from the restricted Muslim-majority countries can do dangerous things, so we should carefully vet and potentially ban even young children from entering the US. It shows the breadth of Trump’s order: It truly is meant to affect any traveler from the seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen) on the order’s list.
Spicer isn’t the first to made this kind of claim. In 2015, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was close to Trump on the campaign trail, said that he’s opposed to allowing any Syrian refugees into his state. “I do not trust this [Obama] administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in,” he argued.
Christie was asked if he would make exceptions for “orphans under the age of 5.” He said no: “The fact is that we need appropriate vetting, and I don’t think orphans under 5 are being, you know, should be admitted into the United States at this point. But you know, they have no family here. How are we going to care for these folks?”
A lot of people around Trump are, apparently, afraid of 5-year-olds — to the point that they want them closely vetted before they enter the US.