Thursday, April 20, 2017

A student objects to rules blocking refugees and visitors from certain countries, preventing them from coming to the USA

Early in his presidency, President Trump twice tried to temporarily halt entrance into the United States by all refugees and all persons from a handful of selected nations. In both cases, courts put restraining orders to present the executive orders from being enforced. The policy was controversial, and the student who wrote this reaction paper was very displeased by the policy, mainly because it seemed immoral, inhumane, and unjust.

In light of recent political events, everyone has an opinion on the new president’s love of signing executive orders, a process that he criticized the last president for doing. One recent order that has gotten international attention would be the now popular “Muslim Ban”. He named this executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. In this order, he banned the travel and migration of citizens from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. The order also stopped the re-entry of legal residents (with green cards) from coming back into the country. After this order was signed, millions revolted in opposition to this decision. While there were some in favor, it seemed as if the opposition was much louder and more vocal. People protested in airports, in the streets, and in front of the White House to show their dislike of the ban. 
My reaction to this is that this is a good way for us to have our tails in between our legs and run away scared. President Trump’s whole campaign played on the fear of Americans and he made promises that he intends to keep. I find it also hilarious that this is happening because this country’s history has been filled by people fleeing their home countries to find sanctuary here. The English Puritans, the Irish during the Irish Potato Famine, the radicals of Europe after the Revolutions of 1848, the Jews of Russia and Eastern Europe after pogroms, and the Vietnamese after the Vietnam War have all fled their homes and families to live in a peaceful world. This country has a monument that commemorates the tired, the poor, and the “yearning to breathe free”. One country in this ban is in almost total ruin due to a civil war and they would not like to live there anymore. Why should we deny millions access to come here based on actions of what a very few people did to us?
Going off of that, yes, there were attacks done on to the American people and these attacks had radical Islam roots. But also take into consideration, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt are not on this list and all of these countries had people tied to them and they carried out the attacks. The 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia. The man who was the United States most wanted was not from any of the banned countries. So why aren’t these countries banned? A point may be that there is more travel or refugee traffic coming from the seven countries and not so much the three I gave in the beginning in this paragraph. Well maybe the citizens from those three countries are not in a civil war or in any hurry to better their lives unlike the other seven countries. 
There have been arguments made from the supporting side. They say that this is not a Muslim ban, this is just a travel ban. They also say that these countries have been on the Obama administration’s watch list too. Others say that this is just for four months so that we can work out the vetting process, which is already time consuming enough. To me and to others, this is just a way to brush off the blame to something else or justify closing our borders. For some refugees, the vetting can take up to a year when they wanted to leave the country yesterday. This is just not fair that now we can stop and pick and choose who we want to come into our country for the next four months. 
In final thoughts, I think that this action is immoral, inhumane, and unjust to those who need our help the most. 
Some of the other arguments in favor of the travel ban, which you didn’t list, include: 
  1. if we bring in too many people from regions where the culture is different from ours, those immigrants or refugees may not assimilate, and may not respect our values, so they will threaten our culture.
  2. we ought to reduce immigration anyway, for various reasons (for example, we ought to maintain a stable population and not experience population growth because a growing population is not environmentally sustainable, or immigrants will bring values and views that will undermine American values and subvert our culture, or immigrants will drive down wages of American workers because they will compete in the labor market).  
  3. Although there is a very slight risk that a terrorist will sneak into our country from one of the countries listed in the travel ban, the government’s responsibility is to reduce the risk as low as possible, and having no immigration from those countries except for exceptional cases will reduce risk of terrorism more than generally allowing immigration from those countries with normal vetting.
Some other arguments against the ban, which you didn’t list, include:

  1. We are working with people in these countries, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of those local people who are our allies may lose trust in us if we ban them from visiting the USA.  For example, will local people ever want to cooperate with the American military (working on bases, acting as translators) if they know that America may ban them from ever entering the USA or coming as refugees if the American’s leave and the political situation in their homeland becomes dangerous for them?
  2. The current vetting process works perfectly well, and there is already zero chance that refugees from the banned countries will come here as terrorists. Most American terrorists were radicalized after arriving in the USA and becoming American citizens, but native-born Americans are just as likely to be radicalized into terrorism as immigrants who come as refugees, and if refugees come from families that are fleeing radical so-called “Islamist” groups or governments, their family background will be far more likely to make them loyal Americans who might help us monitor and understand the situation in their land of origin. 
  3. The argument against allowing refugees from certain countries into the USA only examines the potential harms, and has not taken into account the potential benefits. Maybe 1-in-100,000 refugees will be murderers or terrorists, but 100-in-100,000 will be life-saving doctors or life-saving police officers or life-saving military heroes in our armed forces.  Excluding these refugees would make us lose the benefits as well as avoid the harms. 

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