Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

Yesterday Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from entering the United States who hold citizenship in seven predominantly Muslim countries, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen came into immediate effect. This even includes those with dual citizenship e.g., UK/Iran or Canada/Yemen. The result has been that well over 100 people who were mid-flight when the order went through have been detained after landing at airports around the United States. These people hold current visas or even green cards, permanent residency, so we are not talking about people trying to illegally sneak into the country. We’re talking about people who have either been living in the US already and are returning home after traveling abroad or those who have been granted the right to travel to the US after going through the arduous 18 to 24-month vetting/visa application process. Some Iraqis caught up in this scandal have spent years and risked their lives working with the US military in Iraq.[1]

In addition to those detained in the States, others have been held up in airports around the world or even worse ‘redirected on to flight[s] to their home countries’.[2] Probably one of the saddest stories I’ve read was about a Yazidi woman not being allowed to board her flight from Bagdad after escaping Isis and spending months trying to get permission to go to the States and finally join her husband there,[3] even though the ban is not meant to include those from non-Muslim religious minority groups.[4] For those who don’t know, the Yazidi are not Muslim. Their ancient, minority religion, with followers located in northwest Iraq and neighbouring Syria and Turkey, is an interesting and unique mix of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. They prefer to keep to themselves, but have been persecuted for centuries[5] and have even survived numerous genocides. Today the Yazidi are a principle target of Isis[6] who have enslaved many of their women, subjecting them to regular acts of sexual violence, and who want to essentially destroy them as a people. [7]

Fortunately, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups have filed lawsuits on the basis that this executive order violates freedom of religion as set down by the Constitution. Additionally, a federal judge in New York has issued a nationwide stay on deportations, meaning that the newly arrived refugees, students and workers will not be deported at least until a hearing takes place on 21 February. However, it is assumed that many will have to remain in detention during this period.[8]

The impact of this one executive order alone is tremendous. Aside from the fact that all of these travellers have committed no crime and gone against no law that was in place when they began their journeys to the US, they are being subjected to an aggressive, draconian, religiously intolerant order that should not have been signed in the first place. Families are being kept apart and possibly worst of all, if any are or have already been sent back to their home countries, we don’t know as Judge Donnelly stated, that this wouldn’t cause these people ‘irreparable harm’.[9]

As so many of the protestors have pointed out, America was built on the backs of refugees.   It is even inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, “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!”

As always, Mr Trump, is trying to appeal to peoples’ emotions and not their reason. He knows that Americans are scared and he’s trying to capitalise on that. He says that his executive order is working well and that it is to designed to protect Americans from terrorist attacks, but there have been no, I repeat, no fatal terrorist attacks in the US committed by any citizen of the seven countries currently on the banned list. If we look back at 9/11, we see that none of the 19 who hijacked the planes were from any of the seven banned countries.[10] Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt and one from Lebanon. Isn’t it interesting that none of these countries feature on the executive order? And we now know why, Trump has business interests in all of them.[11] He wouldn’t think of adding those countries to the list, as he does not want the impact on his business. So really what this means is that Trump is trying to make it look to his supporters that he is doing something to protect Americans, when in fact he’s only serving his self-interest yet again.

If Trump really wanted to do something to protect Americans, he’d deal with domestic gun violence. Just under 3,000 people were killed on 9/11 and last year alone 10,945 people were killed by gun violence (homicide).[12] Americans are far more at risk of dying at the hands of their fellow Americans, than they are of being killed by a refugee. Of the 26 terrorist attacks that have taken place on US soil since 9/11, five of the terrorists were foreigners, four were naturalised Americans and a whopping twenty-one were Americans, including white supremacists like Dylan Roof.[13]

Mr Trump, if you want to make Americans safe, then deal with the domestic gun violence and stop attacking innocent refugees, students and those who are contributing to the American economy. Get to root of the problem, by looking at what is causing the violence in the first place. I suggest that you read the Spirit Level, which clearly shows that the more unequal a society becomes, the more violence and instability increase. Your lavish lifestyle and promotion of equally wealthy and disconnected people to positions of great power only further widens the divide between the 1% and the other 99%.














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