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There is a lot of excitement about President Donald Trump’s planned new executive order on immigration. Before the order is even public, the press has been grilling White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about its contents. People are preparing to object before the document is even read.

Given that we know the order deals only with immigrants from seven countries, and that people from those countries do not constitute anywhere near a meaningful minority of immigrants (or tourists), one could make a case that in and of itself the executive order should not receive anywhere near this much attention.

But simultaneously, President Trump’s secretary of state and secretary of homeland security are visiting Mexico on Thursday — which is creating its own a firestorm of media coverage. The Mexican government leadership has already come out swinging, before the meeting, saying that the Trump administration policies are unacceptable. Not only is the wall construction unacceptable, but plans to deport illegal immigrants to Mexico — including illegal immigrants that are not Mexican — will not be tolerated. They want to know why should Mexico be forced to take Guatemalans, Hondurans and other non-Mexicans?

 All of this controversy is being driven by the U.S. leadership, the president and his cabinet, failing to offer a clear policy on immigration. These executive orders, impending demands and vitriolic statements from the administration are like rifle shots aimed at something. But because nobody has a clue what the administrations real immigration policy is, it is impossible to understand the context from which these shots are fired. Nobody really knows what these shots are aimed at achieving.

So everyone, including the media, is left guessing, “what is the target of these actions? What is the overall goal? What is the administration’s immigration policy into which these actions fit?”

The administration says these actions are driven by “national security.” But it is impossible to understand that claim lacking any context. How are these specific actions supposed to improve national security, when every day people come to the U.S. from Europe and Asia with Muslim backgrounds and training? People cross the Canadian border daily who started in another country, yet they are not seen as the same threats as those who cross the southern border — why not?

 Thus, each rifle shot looks an awful lot like an attack against the narrow interest being targeted — specifically middle eastern Muslims and Mexicans. And a lot of people are left scratching their heads as to why these folks are being attacked, other than they are simply easy targets for a part of the U.S. population that is horribly xenophobic.

Everyone — and I literally mean everyone — knows that America is a nation of immigrants. Last Labor Day I wrote about the benefits America has enjoyed by opening its doors to immigration. Recently Ryan McCready of Venngage put together a detailed infographic describing how over half of America’s billion dollar start-ups were founded by immigrants, how 33,000 permanent jobs were created by immigrants, how 76% of patents from top universities were filed by immigrants, and how 100% of America’s 2016 Nobel Prize recipients were immigrants. Nobody really doubts that immigrants have been good for America.

But, everyone also knows all immigrants are not the target of the Trump administration rhetoric, travel restrictions or executive orders. On January 28, in an editor’s pick column, I detailed how the border wall does not even address the problem of illegal immigrants that might be stealing jobs or committing crimes. If it was easy for me to produce the data that it is not illegal Mexican immigrants stealing jobs or creating crime, no doubt the people atop our government have even better data.

Another, possibly more obscure, example of an unaddressed immigration issue was brought to my attention in a recent BBC column (thanks to my cousin Susan Froebel from Austin, TX). Developers are planning for a large migration of retired Chinese to the U.S. These Chinese will enter America with no income, and no job prospects. They are escaping China, where the aged population is growing so fast there is great concern the workforce cannot care for them. They will increase the aged population in American, putting greater strains on all social services — housing, food, medicine. This will increase demands on the remaining American workers, as the U.S.’s own baby boomer generation retires, creating the worst imbalance of non-workers to workers in American history.

If there is any demographic you do not want immigrating to the U.S. it is a bunch of retired people. As I pointed out in my September 16 column, as any country’s population ages it creates a demand for more young immigrants to create economic productivity, growth and the resources to take care of the non-productive retirees. Rather than retirees, what America needs are young, productive immigrants who create and fill jobs — growing the economic base and paying taxes to support the rising retiree class.

But, I’d bet almost nobody who reads this column even knows about the impending explosion of retired Chinese planning to permanently enter the U.S. Even though the economic impact could be disastrous — far, far worse than a few million undocumented workers from Mexico or the middle east. Instead the focus is on two very targeted groups — Muslims and Mexicans.

The Elephant In The Room

Unfortunately, we all remember the infamous voter who attended a John McCain rally in 2007 and said that then-candidate Barack Obama was a Muslim born in Africa. In that moment that woman put forward the fears of so many Americans — that you cannot trust a dark skinned person. You cannot trust anyone who is not Christian. You cannot trust anyone who is not born within the U.S. Everyone else is someone to fear.

Lacking a well drafted, and at least somewhat comprehensive immigration policy, the immediate actions of the U.S. president sound a lot like, Stop the Muslims. Stop the Mexicans. After all, everyone knows they cannot be trusted. They are bad hombres.

Does the U.S. need more border protection? Does the U.S. need to crack down on illegal immigrants?Does the U.S. need to limit immigration? Perhaps yes — perhaps no. And if so, by how much? Right now nobody knows what the Trump administration immigration policy is. All the administration has put forward are rifle shots that appear to be pointed at the easiest targets of hatred in America today — Muslims and Mexicans. Whether these groups deserve to be targeted, or not.

Good leaders develop their vision first. The leadership team puts together the vision, mission and goals for the organization. Then this is developed into a strategy which guides investment and decision-making. The policy platform provides the context so the leaders, and all constituents, can identify the goals of the organization and the planned route to achieve those goals. After that is in place independent actions (decisions) can be evaluated as to their fit with the vision, mission and overall strategy.

As business leaders, President Trump and Secretary Tillerson (former ExxonMobile CEO) should know these first principles of leadership. Yet, they have failed to provide this vision. They have failed to describe their strategy to accomplish their mission. They have failed to tie their words and actions to a plan for achieving their goals (goals which are also still quite vague — such as “a safer America” or “a greater America”). So their actions are being interpreted by their constituents from each constituent’s perspective.

No wonder everyone has an opinion about what’s happening — and no wonder so many people are full of angst. There is a reason leaders take time in their early days to put develop their platform, and discuss it with constituents. Successful leaders make sure the people they depend upon know  their vision, goals and strategy (in this case not only voters but Senators, members of Congress, the judiciary, law enforcement, military and regulators). Only after this do they take action — action clearly aligned with their vision, supported in the strategy and directed at achieving their goals.

For now, lacking the proper context, most Americans are interpreting short-term immigration actions as attacks on Muslims and Mexicans. Those who like these actions do so thinking it is proper, and those who dislike these actions think it is unfair targeting. But people will continue to make their own interpretations until a comprehensive policy is offered that explains a different context. As long as that policy is unclear, these poorly explained actions are examples of bad leadership.