On January 27, President Donald Trump issued executive order entitled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” a severe directive that restricts migration from seven Muslim-majority countries concerning “extreme vetting.”
Under this executive order, natives of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are prohibited from entering the United States for at least 90 days. Refugee admission and resettlement is also suspended for at least 120 days, and Syrian refugee entry into the United States has been permanently suspended for now.
In a nation built by immigrants, this executive order is offensive, inhumane and only serves to divide us all. The America that has lifted its lamp to the huddled masses and opened its doors to those fleeing terror and persecution has now closed its doors due to the fear of terror.
With the stroke of his pen, President Trump has criminalized millions and from these millions, he has exempted non-Muslims in the Muslim majority countries under the section that religious minorities who face “religious based persecution, provided that religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
This is evidently a Muslim ban, in spite of President Trump’s claims that it is not, that this is an effort to protect the security of this nation, to “protect our own citizens and border.”
Contradicting his statements, Trump tweeted, “if the ban were with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during the week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
It is important to note that no immigrant from any of the seven countries on the list have committed an act of terror on U.S. soil that has resulted in a death.
Trump’s contradictory statements tie “terror”and the “bad” to the Muslim community and place limitations on their freedoms and liberties, which have been granted by the very nation that is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” There is no freedom in banning a people due to fears of “terror” attacks when Syrian refugees are fleeing this same terror. Furthermore, the list of countries excludes those where Trump has business ties like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and others.
Donald Trump is facing the wrath of the citizens of the United States in response to this executive order that advocates and protesters have named the “Muslim Ban.” Protests erupted at airports around the world on Saturday and through Sunday, as a symbol of solidarity with the 109 people who were detained at U.S. airports.
Many of the detainees who faced such injustices were U.S. citizens. They were barred from seeking legal advice, pressured to sign documents that would relinquish their immigration status and questioned extensively. They were traveling from their native countries, or had visas to join other family members.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s efforts to overturn the unconstitutional ban proved successful, as it resulted in a federal ruling that blocked the deportation of visa holders from the countries included in Trumps ban. Judges in several other states also overturned the ban, yet Trump and the Customs and Border Protection officers are defying the courts.
The notion that this illegal ban will reduce the terrorist threat in the United States is flawed and will result in even more consequences. Experts believe it only addresses the fears that are an integral part of terrorists’ agenda.
Since 2001, 123 killings out of 230,000 by people of various ethnicities and faiths were by terrorists who identified as Muslims. To conflate Islam with terror is irresponsible and only serves the interests of the very terror groups who want to spread fear and polarize the West and Islam against one another. By signing this executive order, President Donald Trump has taken advantage of his title in an attempt to draw fear against a group that is a majority around the globe.
How will this action affect the United States conflicts with the Middle East? This will further exacerbate the hostility and limit any possibility at implementing policy that will address these conflicts. An action that was aimed at fighting terrorism received no support from experts or officials with experience in the field. This is a directive that leaves a stain on our democracy, as it fails to be a success regarding counterterrorism strategy.
With Islamophobia running rampant, there needs to be dialogue that directly addresses our Muslim communities that have been affected by the hate crimes as a result of discriminatory rhetoric on the part of President Trump and politicians and lawmakers who have supported this executive order.
This ban only sends the message to the Muslim community that they are alone, that they are not part of the narrative of inclusivity, acceptance and unity in the America we all call our home.