Politics
12.2.17

The United States of Isolation: an Analysis of Trump’s Travel Ban

The source of this photo is by Donald Trump. The author is Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America. From Wikimedia Commons.

The practice of America’s founding ideals has always been dubious. With slavery, Japanese internment camps and more recently the “War on Terror”, America has allowed xenophobia and alienation to insidiously grow. It is sad that President Trump’s first week in office ended with essentially a “Muslim ban” and what’s worse, how unsurprising it is.

From his inauguration, Trump has demonstrated how unlearned a politician he is, with executive orders increasing by the day. Yet this most recent and controversial order has shown how frightening the possibilities of such a man in power can be and how far reaching his choices are.

Trump’s travel suspension order has closed the US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days, introduced a further indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and a 90-day suspension on any persons visiting from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Whilst in writing this is not called a Muslim ban, in effect it is. These seven countries have a Muslim majority. Furthermore, Trump stated in an interview with CBN News that priority will be given to Christians in Syria.

However, it is debatable how many refugees even fit the quota or will be able to enter the USA’s borders. Trump has decreased the number of refugees to be accepted in 2017 from Obama’s previous limit of 110,000 to 50,000. In essence, America has closed its borders. The implications of this order mean that comparisons to 1930’s Germany are not mislaid.

The checks and balances of the American presidency have come into play, surely not for the last time in Trump’s tenure. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a case against Trump’s order. The New York Judge Ann Donnelly has stopped the deportation of people with valid visas, approved refugee applications and any others determined to be legally allowed within the US. This has blocked some aspects of the order but does not address the constitutionality of it – surely it is not in line with American beliefs?

Protests in American airports such as JFK in New York and San Francisco, have demonstrated a public outcry. There is a fear of what America could become. Many have posted on social media to describe their anguish and to identify all Americans as immigrants. However, protests have not ended at American borders. Not only have protests been organised in places such as the UK, foreign leaders too have distanced themselves from Trump.

Angela Merkel has reportedly phoned up Donald Trump to remind him of the Refugee Convention and the responsibility of countries such as America to take in refugees and victims of war. Humanitarianism is not a crime, it is to be encouraged.

A spokesman for Merkel said, “The … Refugee Convention requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds. All signatory states are obligated to do so. The German government explained this policy in their call yesterday.”

The western world is understood to be the most developed, liberal and sought after place to live for those in more desperate situations. Yet, barely a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his stance of welcome to refugees abundantly clear, there was a shooting at a Mosque in Quebec City. This is the point. As Meryl Streep said at the Golden Globes, “hate incites hate.” Racial division does not need to be heightened.

Obama’s parting message was not to “believe in [his] power to change, but [ours]” – a sentiment that many Americans and others have taken in their stride since the inauguration of Trump. The key is not to let fear and hyperbole determine the course of action.

The ACLU has demonstrated Trump is not all powerful. America remains a democracy. In fact, it is heartening to see the unity in the recent protests of the people’s opposition to hateful policy. Nonetheless, this travel ban is not an order to take lightly. This has dangerous implications for people’s attitudes in America and also for the lives of thousands of refugees. Let us learn from history and not repeat it.

Written on the Statue of Liberty remain American poet’s Emma Lazarus’s words,

“Give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these homeless tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Global Seven News

Catherine McNaughton

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