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.
~~Emma Lazarus, engraved on the Statue of Liberty
On January 27, 2017, just 7 days in office, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, suspending entry to the United States from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Executive orders by the president supersede the usual formality of deliberated bills or congressional votes, and, generally, both the congressional and judicial branches of the government delegate to the president this discretionary power based on Article Two of the United States Constitution. This article gives the president broad executive and enforcement authority to use executive orders to enforce law or manage resources of the executive branch of government. It is not uncommon for a president to wield this power. George Washington and all presidents since issued executive orders. President Woodrow Wilson holds the title for most executive orders at 3,522. I don’t debate the president’s constitutionality in executive orders. I won’t debate the constitutionality of President Trump’s issuing Executive Order 13769 (Wiki Executive).
However, President Trump executed what he originally termed the “Muslim Ban” unjustly and prejudicially, without respect to his office, the values of the Constitution, humanity, or reliable intel. Trump’s rhetoric fueled a fire of American fear toward the possibility of another 9-11, built with the tender of Muslims, so by the time of his presidency Trump convinced people from all parties and ways of life that predominantly Muslim countries are a threat to the national security of Americans. Trump predominantly based his campaign on promises, condemning nationalities and religion of peoples who, like other immigrants or our ancestor immigrants, built the nation and founded the Constitution (MPowerChange). George Washington wrote, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges …”
You may think I am biased against Trump along belief or party lines. You are partially correct, but not how you might expect. I am a white, conservative, Christian who almost always votes Republican (I did not vote for either Trump or Clinton but for another candidate.) As a patriotic, conservative, Christian, I fear President Trump’s leadership more than Muslims in general. Trump’s clever rhetoric and fever-pitched emotions effectively draws people, such as my own friends, into a nightmare of his own painting—one where Muslims repeat 9-11. I fear prejudiced policies that Trump convinces Americans are necessary for our national security. I fear right-wing extremists calling themselves “Christian”, bombing abortion clinics or calling down a judgment that feeds Trump’s bigotry rather than the mercy, kindness, and goodness of Christianity. I fear US policy ruling according to religion or nationality, setting a precedence that future presidents may one day aim at me, my friends, or fellow countrymen. I fear foreigners stranded, hungry, thirsty, exhausted, frightened, and hurting in airports becoming disgruntled Americans. I fear for families seeking asylum from war-torn countries ripped apart by Executive Order 13769. I am a, so-called, red-blooded American who is soured by my own president’s inhumane treatment of people unlike him. If I, who freely sits at home, feel this way, how do banned foreigners feel? This issue, in a twist of irony, aligned political parties, business, and organizations to share feelings such as mine. From January 28–31, 2017, these parties filed 50 cases in federal courts, resulting in a nationwide temporary restraining order on enforcement of much of the Order (Wiki 13769).
To justify his order Trump included, from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
However, Trump does not respect the Act of 1965 amendment to that order,
No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of the immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.
The Muslim Ban discriminates against people’s nationality, by naming nations, against people’s place of birth, suspending entry to those with visas, and place of residence, suspending entry of those who live or once lived in the named countries. In fact, during his campaign, Trump promoted the creation of a registry for Muslims that is reminiscent of the beginning in the genocide of Jews and other outcasts of Nazi Germany during WWII (Hillyard). Trump’s knee-jerk reaction to September 11, 2001 of which he writes in Executive Order 13769, is to separate out, register, and even bio-tag those people coming from predominantly Muslim nations to be treated as a threat to national security. The Jews, too, were forced into a registry based on declarations of Adolf Hitler, such as these,
“I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.”
“Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.”
James Madison, himself knowing of tyranny wrote, “If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” Trump, too, with his Muslim Ban purports to be fighting a foreign enemy. What might Madison say of Trump’s actions? Would he compare Trump to Hitler? In fact, Trump does not deny any link drawn between Nazi Germany and Trump’s registry and special observation of Muslims (Vaughn). He believes that national security is at stake. However, if we look at the evidence, Trump has his eyes set on an enemy less of a threat than those in our own apple-pie-and-baseball American backyard.
In Section 1. Purpose of the Muslim Ban Order, as in subsequent related orders, Trump cites the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, and he claims subsequent terrorism-related attacks by “numerous foreign-born individuals convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 2001, including foreign nationals … receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, who enter through the United States refugee resettlement program.” Section 2. Policy states, “It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorism attacks in the United States, and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States congressional laws for malevolent purposes.” It goes on to task Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General with gathering “info regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related activity offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses; or removed from United States on terrorism-related actions.” The statistics that multiple sources collected regarding this were summed up by BBC News for the US.
Terrorism-related Cases in the US since 9/11
Includes those charged with or died engaging in jihadist terrorism
BBC News “Is Trump’s Immigration Order Legal?” 6 February 2017
This chart shows citizens rather than immigrants and visa holders are the real threat to national security. If we must engage in a fear of terrorists, we must look no further than the citizens of our United States. Not only is the greatest jihadist threat from US born or naturalized citizens, but according to a 2017 report by the US Government Accountability Office “of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, right-wing extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent)” and “52 percent of the deaths attributable to radical Islam violent extremists occurred in a single event … attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida in 2016 …” (Terrorism). After the occurrence of the 2019 El Paso shooting, right-wing terrorism has killed more people on US soil than Jihadist terrorists since the September 11 attacks. An internal report of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that only 2 terrorists were from any of the nations listed in the Executive Order as a national threat to security. Both Homeland Security Intelligence and a Federal Appeals Panel refuted the named countries threats to national security (Associated Press). By a vast majority, we need to be more concerned for right- and left-wing extremists, born and bred in the USA, than Islamic extremists from any of the banned countries.
Rather than secure our nation, the Executive Order 13769 Muslim Ban effected a horrendous toll on thousands of people. A government lawyer said in federal court that more than 100,000 visas for foreigners inside and outside the US were revoked. What that boils down to is visitors, business travelers, students, professors, researchers, and fiancé’s to US citizens who were unable to return to work, school, research, or see mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and so on in or out of the country (Singhvi). People given visas already passed rigorous vetting put into place after 9-11. The Ban barred new immigrants, seeking a better way of life and refugees seeking asylum from war- and terrorist-torn countries. The Geneva Convention requires the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds. Along with Democrats, Republicans, the ACLU, and others, the states of Washington and Minnesota challenged the order not only for its unconstitutionality, but as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in No. 17-35105, D.C. No. 2:17-cv-00141 published in the case, the state of Washington alleged that the executive order was not only unconstitutional, but it “stranded its residents abroad, split their families, restricted their travel, and damaged State’s economy and public universities” and “the court entered a written order granting the temporary restraining order … [concluding] significant and ongoing harm was being inflicted on substantial numbers of people, to the detriment of the States.” Just one industry of the US affected by the order was Google which immediately responded to the Muslim Ban by recalling overseas Google staff members. CEO Sundar Pichai wrote it is “painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues” (Bergen). More than 100 company staff were affected in that one business alone.
I haven’t even addressed all the constitutional laws broken and American ideals squashed by the order, but my personal experience of the Muslim Ban in 2017 addresses a different perspective. It addresses the hate incited in American people fed by the effect of the Muslim Ban. In 2017, I was lead content producer of the AR-OK region of the American Red Cross. The first thing I knew of the Muslim Ban and subsequent like orders was hearing of people boycotting the Red Cross aiding those people the Muslim Ban stranded in airports here and abroad. I was outraged by the hatred of people who would withhold basic human needs such as food, water, and blankets and of the hatred of people who spent energy boycotting the Red Cross of which I blogged of their ongoing principle of neutrality who “makes no discrimination based upon nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or politics. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress” (Osborn).
In a sense the US terrorized foreign nationals within our borders and those without, refusing foreigners entry away from horrific conditions and perhaps death. They try to come here for a better life. How many died because we turned them away? How many US citizens were hurt because Trump’s prejudicial unjust order clogged up the judicial system needlessly? Who is hurt if this order and its offspring stand and set precedents for future presidents who would rule as tyrant to decide Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or Latinos, Asian, or any other ethnicity are threats to national security? President Trump has no grounds for his unjust leadership. Do we join the ranks of people who rail against a false idea of US terrorist activity and supposed effect of certain countries and boycott the Red Cross helping those in need? Or can we fight back against such injustice, remembering the words of Woodrow Wilson,
We came to America, either ourselves or in the persons of our ancestors to better ideals of men, to make them see finer things than they had seen before, to get rid of the things that divide and to make sure of the things that unite.
Under the unjust leadership of President Trump, we immigrants called the United States of America stand divided against the better ideals that would make newer immigrants see finer things than they have seen before—things that unite, regardless of nationality or religion.
Associated Press in Washington. “Homeland Security Intelligence Finds Little Evidence to Back Trump Travel Ban.” The Guardian, 24 Feb. 2017, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/24/homeland-security-intelligence-trump-travel-ban.
Bergen, Mark. “Google Recalls Staff to U.S. After Trump Immigration Order.” Bloomberg, 28 Jan. 2017, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-28/google-recalls-some-staff-to-u-s-after-trump-immigration-order.
“Executive Order 13769.” Wikipedia, 1 Feb 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13769.
Fox News, “The Five; June 14, 2016 Trump Renews Call for Mosque Surveillance, Muslim Ban: Obama Ware W.” YouTube, 15 July 2016, youtu.be/qAnHhoUwh2I.
Hillyard, Vaughn. “Donald Trump’s Plan for a Muslim Database Draws Comparison to Nazi Germany.” NBC News, 20 Nov. 2015, http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-says-he-would-certainly-implement-muslim-database-n466716.
MPower Change, “86 Times Donald Trump Displayed or Promoted Islamophobia.” Medium, 19 Apr. 2018, medium.com/nilc/86-times-donald-trump-displayed-or-promoted-islamophobia-49e67584ac10.
“Terrorism in the United States.” Wikipedia, 9 Apr. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States?oldformat=true.
Singhvi, Anjali and Alicia Parlapiano. “Trump’s Immigration Ban: Who Is Barred and Who Is Not.” The New York Times, 3 Feb. 2017, ww.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/31/us/politics/trump-immigration-ban-groups.html.
Osborn, Y. Hope. “Principle—Not Stance.” Oklahoma Red Alert, 24 May 2017, redcrossoklahoma.wordpress.com/category/international-relief/.
Zurcher, Anthony. “Is Trump’s Immigration Order Legal?.” BBC News, US and Canada, 6 Feb. 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38766364>.