Cato Institute's Weekly Despatch

Analyzing Trump’s Immigrant & Refugee Ban

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Last week, President Trump signed an executive order that would ban all Syrian refugees and almost all refugees from all countries from entering the United States for six months, while cutting the overall annual limit for refugees in half and banning for at least 90 days all immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. It implies that this ban could continue indefinitely for certain countries. These policies will not improve national security and will undermine America’s efforts to combat Islamic extremism and terrorism around the world.

Stingray: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance

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Police agencies around the United States are using a powerful surveillance tool known as a stingray to mimic cell phone signals to tap into the cellular phones of unsuspecting citizens, track the physical locations of those phones, and perhaps even intercept the content of their communications.

In a new study, Cato scholar Adam Bates says that these cell phone trackers are only the vanguard: “Police technology will continue to become more expansive and powerful, and the longer it takes legislatures and courts to produce a legal framework capable of keeping up with technology and ensuring that constitutional rights are protected, the more threatening the surveillance state will become.”

Withdrawing from TPP Was a Senseless Act

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Demonstrating his preference for action over reason, President Trump has signed an executive order to officially withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

On the one hand, it’s refreshing to witness the rare act of a politician fulfilling a campaign pledge. On the other hand, there is nothing else good about it.

“The geostrategic rationale for TPP—which has yet to dawn on the president—is much less about achieving overt economic and security objectives than it is about preserving and strengthening U.S. soft power,” writes Cato trade scholar Daniel J. Ikenson.
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