President Trump’s most recent executive order, ‘Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,’ impacts immigration in its quest to abate terrorist attacks. In particular it does the following:
• Imposes a 90-day entry ban into the US on foreign nationals from seven countries with high Muslim populations linked to concerns over terrorism, which are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diploma visas, NATO visas and C-2 visas for travel to the UN and allowing an exception to the bar on a case-by-case basis);
• Bars Syrian refugees indefinitely;
• Places a 120-day moratorium on refugees from around the world and directs officials to determine additional screening procedures to ensure that they don’t pose a threat to security and the welfare of the US:
• Slashes the total number of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000; and
• Suspends the visa interview waiver program so that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa must undergo an in-person interview (with limited statutory exceptions).
Trump’s order also establishes a “religious” test for refugees by granting Christians and minority religions priority over Muslims. This is based on Trump’s assumption that Muslims come to the US relatively easily compared to Christians, for whom he claims it is nearly impossible. However, according to the Pew Research Center, almost as many Christians (37,521) were admitted as Muslims (38,901) in the 2016 fiscal year.
It should be noted that most of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11th were from Saudi Arabia. The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon, none of which were included in the 90-day ban. Critics have noted the political reasons and Trumps’ personal reasons for not covering such countries, which do not relate to our national security.
The world’s critics have noted that the door is being slammed on innocent people and harming the world’s most vulnerable people. We should be making policy decisions based on reason and compassion and not fear. Also, it is noted that Trump’s misguided, harmful and rash decision will backfire and only make us less safe. Such draconian policies bolster the US’ enemies by offering a propaganda boost to terrorists and the policies have major diplomatic repercussions and exacerbate the already-low perceptions of Americans globally. Overall, Trump’s policies will alienate Muslims worldwide even more.
Others note that Muslims’ perceptions of the US are already cynical and that they regard Americans as hypocritical since Americans claim that the US is the land of freedom, democracy and diversity but subject Muslims to extreme forms of vetting and overall discrimination in the immigration process. Under this line of reasoning, Trump’s stringent executive order will not provoke more people into becoming terrorists but just set the record straight on America’s actual stance.
Finally, it should be emphasized that Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration places in jeopardy the resettlement of interpreters from Iraq and Afghanistan who have helped US forces since 2001. They have been promised resettlement in the US and the Obama Administration continued the program granting special visas to them. The ban on their entry into the US may discourage potential future interpreters who risk their lives for us.