Despite attempts to promote love, hate has recently achieved a major victory.
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bans people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, along with banning all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Even those who had visas have been detained or entirely inhibited from entering the country. In fact, reports say that at least 100,000 visas have been revoked since the order went into effect, although conflicting reports say that the number is actually fewer than 60,000.
Trump is allegedly protecting the American people from terrorism with the implementation of the immigration order. He is gravely mistaken. There are three things wrong with the ban.
First, the travel ban is blatantly unconstitutional. As Ian Samuel, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, argues, “the U.S. Constitution prohibits targeting people because of their religion, which this travel ban is a very lightly disguised attempt to do.” His statement expresses the belief and concern of many: the travel ban goes against the very foundational ideals of our country.
Second, this discriminatory measure has become easy fodder for terrorists in the recruitment process. Last December, Al-Shabab, a terrorist group in East Africa, used footage of Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims in a recruitment film. As if this was not terrifying enough, now the ban has actually been implemented. Terrorists have even more material to use against America. This is a terrifying prospect. Trump’s attempt to protect the country will backfire, promoting terrorism and endangering American civilians.
Third, the immigration order threatens U.S. foreign policy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May expressed warnings against such a ban due to negative geopolitical effects. If the implementation of the ban angers our allies enough, this means a potential loss of important relationships, which would directly harm the economy and the future of our country. Furthermore, Iran has promised to “take reciprocal measures” in response to the ban. Although they have not specified what these measures will entail, this is not something you want to hear from a country that has undertaken covert nuclear activities in the past. The U.S.’s diplomatic and foreign relations are put at risk, placing the country in a very precarious and potentially dangerous position on a global scale.
Furthermore, from a psychological standpoint, Trump’s executive order greatly increases hatred in the country by promoting an us-versus-them division. According to Dozier’s Why We Hate, this binary distinction separating “us” from a different, dangerous “them” – in this case, predominantly Muslims – decreases empathy and dehumanizes “them.” This hate-fuelled, stereotyped perspective of those different from us spurs violence and attacks. If this hatred continues to grow, we won’t need to worry about terrorists; we will destroy ourselves.
In essence, the immigration order is both immoral and dangerous. It is not protecting our country from threats. It is not strengthening our borders. It is not even a ban on terrorists at all. It is a ban on people based on stereotyped assumptions of their religion, which goes against the very fabric of this country’s ideals. All this ban does is create a negative image of America. It promotes terrorism. It distances our allies. It fosters hatred and violence in our own cities. Trump’s ignorant, bigoted ideals only serve to endanger the American people.
Recently, the opposition has succeeded against the ban: on the night of February 3, Federal Judge James Robart brought the ban to a nationwide halt. The Department of Homeland Security has now suspended the immigration order, so procedures will return to the way they were prior to its signing.
However, will this really make a difference?
The damage has already been done. Trump has already angered both our enemies and our allies with the implementation of the immigration order. Additionally, this suspension is only temporary. The ban could just be re-implemented.
Although the immigration order might be a genuine attempt to protect the American people, it is only going to do us harm. Protecting the country from terrorism is absolutely imperative, however doing so with this controversial ban is nothing less than a threat to our security. We need to combat terrorism in a mature, unprejudiced way.
We must consider what will happen to the country if hate trumps love.
Dozier, R. W., Jr. (2002). Why We Hate: understanding, curbing, and eliminating hate in ourselves and our world. Chicago: Contemporary Books.
Fitzgerald, D., & Martin, D. C. (2017, January 30). Trump’s Immigration Order Is Bad Foreign Policy. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-01-30/donald-trumps-immigration-order-is-bad-foreign-policy
Jarrett, L., Marsh, R., & Koran, L. (2017, February 4). Homeland Security suspends travel ban. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/03/politics/federal-judge-temporarily-halts-trump-travel-ban-nationwide-ag-says/
Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance. (2016, August 10). Retrieved from https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat
O’Hara, M. E. (2017, February 03). Over 100,000 Visas Have Been Revoked by Immigration Ban, Justice Dept. Reveals. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/over-100-000-visas-have-been-revoked-immigration-ban-justice-n716121
Reuters. (2017, February 3). White House To Appeal After Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Travel Ban. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/trump-seattle-judge-immigration-ban-blocked-james-robart-552550
Singhvi, A., & Parlapiano, A. (2017, February 3). Trump’s Immigration Ban: Who Is Barred and Who Is Not. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/31/us/politics/trump-immigration-ban-groups.html
What is wrong with Trump’s immigration ban? (2017, January 30). Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/01/wrong-trump-immigration-ban-170130102549929.html