On Friday, Donald Trump enacted an executive order that banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspended the admission of refugees into the U.S. This is inconsistent with foundational American ideals. It is also an attempt to win over American sentiment through fear.
There is no doubt safety is always a concern, but this nation was built upon diversity, even at times when diversity was challenged.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You may recognize this quote from the plaque on the Statue of Liberty. To many immigrants, it was a beacon of hope signifying they no longer had to fear their heritage and had opportunity for a new life.
This executive order has shut out immigrants from the seven countries listed for at least 90 days. It has shut out refugees from Syria indefinitely.
This power play is based upon the fear of not knowing what these refugees might do or how thoroughly they have been vetted. Trump intends to intensify the vetting process to better protect the American people, but he is inconsistent in the execution of this goal.
If it is the safety of the American people we are worried about, this list would need to be extended. According to the risk solutions company Aon, countries of most interest for terrorist attacks are Saudi Arabia, Turkey and India. None of these countries are listed on the immigration ban.
Aon further states, “anxieties about the new generation of Muslim refugees and migrants as a source of terrorism will probably prove overblown.”
If we look at the facts of the 9/11 attacks, which are referenced throughout the executive order, a large majority of the 19 attackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. The others involved in the hijacking were from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Take a look at where President Trump has business interests. Trump has 16 companies in India, 13 in the U.A.E, eight in Saudi Arabia and two in Turkey. This highlights a blaring inconsistency with the “total shutdown” that Trump campaigned on.
Several studies, including a study by social scientist Bertjan Doosje, correlate the identity process to radicalization. More studies indicate that discrimination and marginalization have a link to the radical ideals that a person might have. Banning immigrants from a country they see as their last hope would in fact have an impact on the identity process of those Muslim-majority countries.
In short, the discrimination within this executive order has been linked to the radicalization we are trying to prevent.
Finally, let’s take a look at what the president can lawfully do.
According to the CATO Institute, a conservative think tank, the article of the law from which Trump derived the power to carry out the policy is section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This provides the president with general power to exclude certain immigrants should the need arise. Section 202 outlines the limit of this power and the unlawfulness of the proceedings at hand.
Essentially, the president is not allowed to bar immigrants based upon their “nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” If President Trump wanted to, he could in fact exclude immigrants based upon their political belief, religious affiliation or ideology; but this would warrant a far different outcry from the American people.
As seen through various media outlets, Americans are standing with those detained in airports looking to aid in any way they can. America is known as a “melting pot” of diversity. The current executive order threatens that legacy. Evident through their protests Americans are hopeful, not fearful. They’re generous not suspicious.
I say, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”