Last week, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” The order prevents any citizens of Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Somalia and Sudan from entering the United States for 90 days and suspended the refugee acceptance program for 120 days. Worse still, all Syrian refugees have been indefinitely blocked from entering the United States. This is a broad overreaching of executive authority and directly conflicts with the American identity of liberty and peace that has been long fostered in this nation.
In 1941, Otto Frank, a Jewish man in Nazi-ruled Germany, fled to the Netherlands with his wife and two daughters and tried applying for visas for his family to enter the United States. In the wake of so many foreigners trying to enter the country, the U.S. cancelled many visas, crushing the Franks’ hopes of reaching America. The Franks were discovered in hiding by Nazi forces and sent to concentration camps. His daughters, Anne and Margot, died of typhus and their mother, Edith, died of starvation. Anne Frank became one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust and her diary has sold over 27 million copies worldwide. Had the United States allowed the Franks into the country, they might have escaped their terrible fates. Just as the U.S. of 1941 wouldn’t have sent the Franks away with the knowledge that they would die at the hands of the Nazi regime, it is wrong for the U.S. to do the same to so many innocent refugees during this time period.
In 1941, the United States turned away refugees for fear that Nazi sympathizers would enter the country. However, they failed to realize that turning away refugees sealed their horrible fates in the hands of the Nazis. The same thing is happening before our eyes today. President Trump has turned away refugees in the hopes that it will turn away terrorism, sending them back to war-torn lands and dangerous governments. This is not a deterrent for terrorism – this is an advertisement for it.
CNN reported that there have been zero terrorist attacks on American soil by refugees let into the United States since the Refugee Act of 1980. However, on the campaign trail, President Trump applied his usual method of inventing information and instilled fear into the hearts of many, claiming refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries would spread terrorism within American borders.
According to the United Nations, more than half of the 13 million Syrians who are in need of humanitarian aid are children. President Trump now has the fates of almost 7 million innocent children resting on his shoulders.
There is nothing right about this executive order. Cleverly disguised as “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States,” the order is about keeping people whose lives President Trump deems less worthy than his own from entering this nation.
While the media has focused a great deal of attention on those who are standing against the executive order, there are many Americans who feel that President Trump’s actions are good-intentioned. Many Americans who work in manufacturing and other fields that don’t require post-secondary education feel that a surge of immigrants could threaten their own job security. In the past, other large immigrant groups, such as the Irish and the Germans, have entered the United States and set the stage for more competitive job markets. Many Americans feel that a similar pattern might emerge in today’s increasingly global marketplace.
There is also a genuine fear of terrorism entering the United States since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorists who perpetrated those horrible crimes were immigrants from the Middle East. That and a two-centuries-old skepticism of immigrants has contributed to a major cultural problem that our world currently faces — whether allowing mass amounts of immigrants into our country would hurt or harm the nation in which we currently live. It is unlikely this debate will be put to bed any time soon, especially in the middle of an administration that seems hell-bent on closing the bridge to opportunity in America.
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” –Winston Churchill