If anything positive is to result from protesting this policy and drawing attention to its flaws, some facts need to be known first. By setting the record straight on a few things, it will become clear why this policy is actually much more worrisome than it seems.
Consider these facts…
1. The word “Muslim” does not actually appear anywhere in the Executive Order. Instead, the phrase used throughout is “foreign nationals,” and this order could thusly be interpreted to apply to non-Muslim countries as well, even though it presently does not.
2. All of the seven countries cited are majority-Muslim countries. Sudan has the lowest percentage, at 97% Islamic.
3. The seven countries targeted were chosen by the Department of Homeland Security under Obama, NOT by Trump. When Congress passed the Visa Waiver Program in 2015, which streamlined the immigration process for 38 countries, it included provisions that would deny this benefit to anyone who visited the seven countries mentioned in the ban.
4. The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have been given the freedom to make exemptions on a case-by-case basis. US-born citizens and naturalized citizens are not effected by the ban, although Customs enforcement agencies still have the right to question anyone.
5. Some local judges have attempted to block local authorities from enforcing the Executive Order. The Attorney General from 15 states and the District of Columbia also signed a joint statement vowing to oppose the order.
6. Trump is not the first US President to ban a class of people from entering the US.
Once you understand these facts, other, more important questions begin to surface. And the answers to those questions suggest something much darker could be in store.
First of all, even if it was DHS that picked these countries, why were these countries singled out, and not others that also have questionable ties to terrorism? Pakistan, for example, has a history of working with terrorist groups, and may have even been protecting Bin Laden, right up until we caught him. The Saudi government has been accused of sponsoring ISIS, not to mention the overwhelming number of terrorists that have come from Saudi Arabia (including 14 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11). Why are these countries not on the list, if national security is the reason for the list?
More importantly, what business does our government have shutting down the free movement of people between countries of it’s choosing? Even minarchists concede that one of the very few proper functions of government is to keep us safe from enemies that would do us harm. But does this mean it is sound to restrict hundreds of thousands of people from coming into the country (or coming back into the country, as the case may be), because one of them may want to hurt us? How do we know that politics isn’t determining a lot of this, instead of serious intelligence?
And would this policy even be effective? Syed Farook was a US-born citizen, and his wife was a naturalized citizen from Pakistan, with family in Saudi Arabia. Yet even if both those countries were on the list, Trump’s ban would not have prevented the San Bernandino shooting from occurring.
And finally — and most importantly of all — doesn’t this ban set the precedent for adding any country to the naughty list, not just predominantly Muslim countries? It may have actually been a good thing if it did actually target Muslims. But it does not. The fact that it doesn’t means this Executive Order may very well be much worse than anyone realizes.
Think about it.
If talks with the Mexican president don’t happen or don’t go well, Trump can threaten to add Mexico to this list of countries, citing an evident risk of sending “foreign nationals” into our country. It doesn’t matter if the threat is real, either. If something like the Los Siete de la Raza incident in 1969 were to happen today, it would be enough in Trump’s mind to put Mexico on the list, along with other Latin American countries.
And he doesn’t even have to wait for something to happen. He already thinks that Mexico is sending us their rapists and criminals, so he’s already set up his own argument, if he ever wanted to use it.
This is too much power for someone to have. It should not be up to one man to decide that entire countries are off limits.
There are others that have gone even further than this in their efforts to explore the true extent of Trump’s potential for abusing power. Some have argued that the chaos being created by this Executive Order is intentional, and meant to test the strength of our government’s checks and balances, and to discover disloyalty among the ranks. Others will likely become even more speculative and veer into the realm of total conspiracy theory.
This is why good information is more important than ever.
It also means that telling someone they are using alternative facts because you happen to disagree with them is also more of a problem than ever. Confirmation bias could be the catalyst for prolonged and increasing tensions, no matter what side you’re on.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done. Here’s a list of things you can do to push back against this draconian policy…
-Continue to share the stories of anyone close to you that has been affected by this policy.
-If you are a government employee that is part of this system, then resist. It turns out there are several ways in which someone in a position within the government can use non-violent resistance to fight this.
-Take effective, non-violent action (of which protest in just one option).
-Communicate to as many people as possible the concerns you have with this policy, and do so in a respectful way. Do not back down, but do be respectful, and always use reliable sources!
-Support companies that have spoken out on this ban. Many companies have also offered aid to any employees they have that are affected, and some of them have even donated millions to set up a legal defense fund, including Uber and Google. Airbnb is also offering free housing to refugees and anyone stranded by the order. Read about more companies that have spoken out here. You can also donate time and money directly to organizations that are offering to help reconnect loved ones. Here is a list.