Laura Catron ‘17: On Friday, January 27th, newly minted President Donald Trump announced an executive order resulting in the temporary halt on immigration from seven Muslim majority Middle Eastern countries: Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. For details on exactly what an executive order is, our own Brooke Tremblay wrote a brief, President Trump signs Executive Order.
Even for someone with as many words and opinions as myself, I find it difficult to voice all the reasons the order makes my skin crawl, but I’ll try. I’ll try putting my basic empathetic capabilities as a human being to the side for just a moment, and explain exactly how unreasonable this order is from a purely logical perspective.
From 1975 to 2015, a period of forty years, exactly zero Americans died on U.S. soil at the hands of anyone from any of the banned countries. Obviously, I don’t intend to imply that someone needs to die in order for security measures to be justified, but the distinct lack of harm caused should be recognized. Approximately 3.25 million refugees from all over the world came to the United States in that same period of time.
Only seventeen immigrants from the banned countries have ever been convicted of attempting to execute a terrorist attack. Seventeen of 3.25 million is equivalent to 0.00052307692 percent, or five ten-thousandths of one percent. Even considering the potential harm that could have occurred, the statistical probability of an immigrant or refugee from any of the banned countries doing harm to America is infinitesimal.
And when I say “harm,” I refer to petty crimes too. Numerous studies conducted over many different periods consistently state that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native born Americans.
With this executive order, the Trump administration tries to scare America into believing that an overwhelmingly peaceful group of people is dangerous and can justifiably be openly discriminated against. Neither research nor understanding went into this order. For example, the counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, recently attempted to defend the ban in a news interview with MSNBC. She cited the “Bowling Green Massacre,” saying that two Iraqi refugees masterminded the attack.
There was never an attack at Bowling Green, much less one executed by Iraqi refugees.
President Trump also utilized “alternative facts” in his reasoning for the travel ban. In an interview with CNN, he used 9/11 and the shooting at San Bernardino as examples of times that a travel ban would have saved lives. However, the terrorists behind the attack on September 11th hailed from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon, none of which are banned. As for the San Bernardino terrorists, one was a natural born US citizen and the other entered the country on a fiancé visa from Pakistan.
Believe it or not though, the complete disregard for logic isn’t the most bothersome thing about the travel ban. What eats at me the most is the utter disregard for refugees and immigrants as people. For instance, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, said in a press conference that even five year old children threaten national security. Five year olds.
There is no way in hell that any reasonable person objectively considers five year old children as security threats. To be five years olds in the United States is to begin the first year of school, to play recreational sports in a pee-wee league, and to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, not to mastermind a lethal terrorist attack.
Immigrants and refugees are nothing less than human. They breathe oxygen, they eat food, they love and care for their families. They deserve compassion and affection and the same opportunities that are (or should be) afforded to everyone else. The religion one practices and their country of origin should not matter. Refugees and immigrants deserve to be treated humanely for no other reason than they are human. I genuinely don’t see why that is so difficult for some to understand.
Does the national immigration policy need fixing? Absolutely. But the travel ban, and anything like it, by which I refer to any policy that unfairly targets specific groups of people won’t help. I thank every higher power for Seattle Judge James Robert for recognizing that. We can only hope that President Trump realizes it too.
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Morgan Brown ‘17: After only a few weeks as the President of the United States, President Donald J. Trump took action on several of his key promises. From his famous campaign staple of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump proves to be a man of his word.
A federal judge already blocked one of the president’s first executive orders, a subject of extreme controversy. The order places a temporary, 90 day halt on immigration from seven different countries, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, and other countries designated as threats by the Department of Homeland Security. The order also places a 120 day ban on taking in refugees from Syria.
Social media and some news sites refer to the ban as a “Muslim ban”, a title which spreads the misconception that the executive order discriminates against Islamic people. In fact, while the seven banned countries have a predominantly Muslim population, the highest percentage of Muslims live in Indonesia, India, and Pakistan, three countries that the ban does not affect.
Halting immigration is not a new concept for the United States. Discussion of refusing refugees goes as far back as President Chester A. Arthur. In fact, Section 217(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act says that visas should only be issued if “(i) the alien has not been present, at any time on or after March 1, 2011 – (I) in Iraq or Syria… (III) in any other country or area of concern…” President Obama’s administration put this act into place. But when our new president places a ban, we’re basically in Nazi Germany.
Eagerly jumping on the liberal bandwagon, people call President Trump Islamophobic without considering the positives of the order for our country.
In general, I love the idea of helping Syrian refugees, but I’m also not naive. Refugees who truly need help can find it without flooding into our nation. Countries closer to Syria house refugees in camp shelters, including over 22 camps in Turkey and 3 in Jordan.
If the refugees want to live somewhere with higher security, most European countries are perfectly willing to take them in. In fact, according to the Washington Post, Germany took in about a million refugees in 2015, and only a year later, polls showed that the amount of Germans who supported the refugees decreased. After receiving admission to the country, several Syrian refugees committed acts of terrorism, including one man who attacked a pregnant woman with a machete and an explosion at a German music festival from a refugee who blew himself up.
The bottom line is, we need to keep America safe from the rising threat of terrorism, and if this immigration ban will help our country raise its security, then let’s give President Trump our support.
Of course, immigration is a staple of our country. None of us would be here if not for the immigration of our ancestors, but immigration should never get to a point of danger for the citizens who already live here. At this point, we welcome people with open arms and provide open opportunities when we don’t even know who they are, and that signals a need for reform.
An analogy floated around the Internet after the announcement of the ban that perfectly describes my feelings on this issue. Most people lock their doors at night, not because they hate the people outside, but to keep the people on the inside safe. Right now, America needs to lock its doors.
These bans only last for a limited amount of time, just enough time for President Trump to work with Congress on strengthening our vetting procedures and immigration policies. We need to boost security for citizens of the United States before we let anyone else in.
For the next few months that this ban restricts immigration, the safety of Americans comes first.
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