President Donald Trump claims sweeping strictures barring refugees from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States do not constitute a ‘Muslim ban’; but — however you view these temporary prohibitions — severe travel restrictions have created a secondary refugee crisis, with epic ramifications.
Families separated across continents. U.S. citizens and those with green cards unable to return to their homes. Random people detained in airports. Translators who have assisted the U.S. military suddenly forced to return to the countries they betrayed to help American troops overseas. Spouses barred from communicating as one faces deportation without appeal.
With the sweep of a pen, Trump set fire to the most fundamental foundation of the United States: that we — those of us whose ancestors are not Indigenous — are indisputably a nation comprised entirely of both immigrants and descendants of refugees. Emma Lazarus’ immortal words adorning the Statue of Liberty extend a warm invitation to anyone in need of safe harbor, and weren’t viewed as conditional before the billionaire took office:
“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.”
Shirking humanitarianism so hypocritically is perhaps the greatest abomination in Trump’s long-expected yet abrupt slamming of America’s doors — indeed the move perhaps evinces the new president’s desire to placate supporters rather than base policy on fact.
And facts, even those deemed ‘alternative,’ simply do not validate a ban on immigration — particularly not on the terms the president has set forth.
“The order blocks citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya from entering the country for at least 90 days. It also bans refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days — and from Syria indefinitely. Trump said the goal is to screen out ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ and to give priority for admission to Christians,” the Washington Post reported on the tectonic presidential orders.
Considering the largest terror attack on U.S. soil was coordinated primarily by hijackers from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon. In fact, no immigrants or refugees from any of the named restricted countries have ever carried out an attack against Americans domestically — but not for lack of U.S. military provocation on their soil.
No refugees will be allowed to set foot inside the Land of the Once Free for 120 days — but for Syrians fleeing the morass of civil and proxy wars in their homeland, the ban is indefinite. Funny, that, considering the United States’ goal of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could facilely be said to have worsened the massive efflux of civilians desperate to save their own lives.
And that’s one of several glaring points where Trump’s immigrant and refugee clamp-down laughably miss the mark — refugees who happen to adhere to the religion of Islam or hail from Muslim-majority countries aren’t, by default, terrorists. Indeed, the U.S. already has one of the strictest screening procedures for newcomers on the planet — these restrictions just choke logic out of the system and create a bottleneck in travel at airports around the globe.
His paper tigers, The Ban and The Wall, might appease the masses, for whom the murky concept of terrorism has been instilled for decades as more pervasive and insidious than reality belies, but they do nothing to curb terrorism — and indeed, will likely fuel further blowback.
If the U.S., whether Obama or Trump mans the helm, truly sought to end terrorism, the military would not be party to bombing campaigns in the Middle East and elsewhere in which innocent, non-combatant civilians die at exponentially higher rates than actual militants.
If the U.S., whether Obama or Trump mans the helm, truly sought to quash terrorist cells, the government would cease turning a blind eye when allies fund, arm, and train extremists — or would cease doing the same, itself.
If the U.S., whether Obama or Trump mans the helm, truly sought to prevent an influx of embittered radicals from any religion or faction, the pantomime of denying entry to disparate groups based on their geographical happenstance wouldn’t be considered practical or reasonable or effective.
Muslim ban or not, the orders will undoubtedly be perceived as such by actual terrorists already emboldened by what they term the West’s war on Islam — particularly in light of preferential consideration for Christian immigrants over Muslim counterparts as mandated by Trump.
None of the policies the U.S. government has enacted since the attacks of 9/11 made war on a concept acceptable have effectively curtailed terrorism — many, in fact, worsen the matter exponentially.
In truth, our government never intended or sought to end terrorism — and cared little our foreign policy foments more terrorist groups than prevents future attacks, domestically and abroad.
One of the pricklier issues responsible for sparking cynicism and descent into radicalism is the refugee crisis. Vulnerable by nature in foreign lands where citizens have wearied of the burden outsiders place on the system, resentment builds in the minds of young immigrants and refugees — creating fertile ground extremist leaders can readily farm for their own political goals.
Randomly forcing people to become refugees, due only to their nationality and religion, exacerbates the resentment.
When you fabricate real-world obstacles adding to the staggering refugee crisis spawned by the war on terror — without ending the wars creating terrorists in the first place — your moves must be called out for the exercise in pacifying the geopolitically illiterate they are.
Trump’s ludicrous Wall and maddeningly futile travel bans aren’t legitimate for their stated goals; and as far as preventing criminals and terrorists from continuing business as usual — or slowing to a trickle the number of people evacuating their homes out of necessity for a better chance at survival elsewhere — such policies are the epitome of counterproductive.
You want to stop terrorists in their tracks? Stop gifting the disaffected with myriad motivations to radicalize.