By Dasa Rosca
No, this is not a war but there are casualties. On January 27, 2017, exactly one week after taking the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump followed through on one of his campaign’s primary promises and temporarily banned the citizens of seven majority-Muslims countries from entering the U.S. “I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order.” These words deliver the promise to millions of people who are in favor of the executive order, while simultaneously denying the American dream to the millions of people from the affected countries of Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Libya. The United Nations’ rights experts claim that the order violates the “country’s human rights commitments,” while Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, believes that this is the proper strategy to ensure that American lives are not being gambled with. Meanwhile, the issue continues to divide the country even more.
“This executive order is banning the countries that have nothing to do with recent terrorist threats,” says Mustafa Yousif Abdelmagid who is a sophomore Biology major at AUM. Abdelmagid, moved to the U.S. with his mother and sister back in 2003 from Khartoum, Sudan. According to the Cato Institute also, “Foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015.” Today, speaking perfect English and somewhat modest, Abdelmagid explains: “U.S. shouldn’t be targeting the poor people coming here from third world countries in hope for a better life.” He continues: “I know students that are not able to come back this semester.” In Abdelmagid’s view the right to an education shouldn’t be affected by the issues between the countries. These are the facts: unfortunately, the executive order does not exclude international students and they fall among the casualties.
Rebekah Newton, who is a sophomore Nursing major, supports the temporary ban on terrorist-associated countries until a stronger vetting program is in place. Newton explains: “Not as a religious persecution, but protecting the nation from the very thing that many men and women have already given their lives for.” She continues: “I am afraid of any extremist ideology that has a goal of harming people in the name of their cause.”
The country is now engaged into a “backyard spar” with each side arguing its position. Unfortunately, factual accuracy and logical consistency, crucial to healthy debate seem to be often missing. This is a dangerous combination that fuels ignorance and contaminates concepts. In this case, very few individuals take the time to read the multiple page executive order and instead turn to social media hashtags as a trusted source. Debating with half-truths cannot justify the opinions held by each side. While President Trump’s stated intention is to protect America by temporarily pausing the inflow of people from failed nations torn apart by war, his executive order is poorly executed and explained. “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.” the name of this executive order is automatically categorizing the people from the banned countries as terrorists, and it is one of the reasons why it creates conflict, drives individuals into outrage, and why it should be revised to properly carry out the goal of the order.
Trump’s executive order got temporarily blocked by the U.S. District Judge James Robart and was later on suspended by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Even though the President has higher authority over immigration policies, these rulings have demonstrated the importance of the judicial branch of government. Following the courts’ decisions, the Trump administration will most likely appeal once the President’s SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch, will be confirmed.
It should not be thought that those supporting the ban are bigots or that those who oppose it aren’t true American patriots. It all comes down to priorities, which are just different ways each one views the world. In this case, it’s national security versus the American promise to the world.