Monday, February 6, 2017

Trump's travel ban order creating confusion and chaos

(January 27) The executive order was designed Trump said to "keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States". In a TV broadcast on Friday he said that Christians would be given priority among Syrians applying for refugee status.

The full text of the executive order is available here. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) immediately announced it would be filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the order claiming that the apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Actually the order does not include several Muslim-majority countries where Trump has businesses such as Saudi Arabia, the GCC members and Egypt as being a target of the order. CAIR's Lena Masri said: “There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security. This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.” A tweet notes: "Refugees resettled in US are screened by:- at least 4 US govt agencies- @UNRefugeeAgency - @ICMC_news. The process takes ~4 years."
CAIR notes some of the important features of Trump's order:Trump’s plan would suspend the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for 90 days, ban refugees from Syria indefinitely, suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days, cut refugee numbers down to a maximum of 50,000 in 2017 (less than half the previous year’s figure of 117,000), and prioritise refugee claims if the refugee is a member of a minority religion – a clear attempt to carve out an exception for Christians.The U.S. Refugee Admissions Programme is suspended for 120 days. The Visa Interview Waiver Programme that allowed immigrants to renew their visas without attending an interview will be immediately suspended. The U.S. actually allows in few Syrian refugees. Last year Obama allowed in only 10,000 whereas Canada with a population one ninth as large took in 35,000.
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris noted that the order was signed on Holocaust Memorial Day and said the order was a ban against Muslims and said: "We have opened our doors to those fleeing violence and oppression for decades, by presidents on both sides of the aisle. During the Holocaust, we failed to let refugees like Anne Frank into our country. We can't let history repeat itself." Malala Yousafzai, the teenager once shot by the Taliban for advocating women's education in Pakistan and subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize said she was heartbroken when she heard the news saying: "Today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war. America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants — the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life."
When Trump was interviewed on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) he said he would give priority to Christians fleeing persecution in Syria and said: "Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, or at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If you were a Muslim, you could come in, but if you were a Christian it was almost impossible."
The order is likely to create chaos. One article claims that up to 500,000 legal U.S. residents could be barred from returning to the U.S. from trips. Another article notes that the order is causing panic among refugees. Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, said she received a flurry of emails and calls from all over the U.S. Heller said: "Everyone is panicked. No one knows what this means. We have clients whose lives are seriously at risk, who are days away — approved, given visas and simply awaiting travel dates. Many of these people are at risk because of their ties to America — either because they have family here or because they worked with American forces." Some critics have pointed out that the Trump order may actually make the U.S. less secure as it alienates many countries and groups including allies such as the Kurds in Iraq.


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