EDITORIAL: Travel ban displays xenophobia
Trump’s Nov. 29 retweets may show prejudice in executive order
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court — by the Trump administration’s request — ordered the lifting of an injunction by a federal appeals court, which was previously preventing the third version of the “travel ban” executive order from going into full effect.
Now the ban, which includes more extreme vetting capabilities of refugees and the barring of people coming from eight nations — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, some groups from Venezuela and North Korea — can be fully implemented. Six of the aforementioned nations are predominantly Muslim, and many people from these nations will be unable to emigrate here, but may in some cases visit after intense vetting.
According to the New York Times, “The Supreme Court’s orders effectively overturned a compromise in place since June, when the court said travelers with connections to the United States could continue to travel here notwithstanding restrictions in an earlier version of the ban.”
The legal argument of many critics of President Donald J. Trump’s ban lies in the Establishment Clause located in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The clause states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …” In that case, it would be unconstitutional to make a law barring a specific religion from coming into the United States. On the other hand, those in support of it cite U.S. Code Section 1182(f), which gives the president the authority to do so when he sees necessary for national security, “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” In the executive order Trump did indeed state in his reasoning on multiple occasions, which aligns with the language in Section 1182(f).
What is somewhat puzzling about this order though, is that no refugees from any of the banned countries have committed a terrorist attack against the United States post-9/11, and that most of the recent terror attacks were committed by either a U.S. citizen or a person of a nationality other than those listed in the ban. Additionally, the terrorists who took part in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 were all from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon — none of which are included in the ban.
The countries on the list were put there, in most cases, because of their significant terrorist presence, but it is beginning to seem that this ban really is one meant to affect only Muslim people. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, Trump tweeted multiple anti-Muslim videos from a British ultranationalist group called Britain First, which lacked credibility and were titled, “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”, “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” In light of the news of the travel ban being fully implemented, the sharing of these videos by the president of the United States is markedly more unsettling. The retweeting of these videos is blatant proof that Trump is prejudice against the Muslim community, and that as a result of that underlying prejudice this ban may in some sense violate the Establishment Clause.
Rutgers continues to show the world we are a campus of acceptance and inclusion. We thrive on the diversity of our student body, because we know that by closing ourselves off to certain ideas or perspectives we are only hurting ourselves and stunting our education. This ban represents a growing culture of fear and xenophobia in the United States that has been displayed even on campus at Rutgers through flyers posted by white nationalist groups. To the extent that we can, we must fight against this ban and its effect on not only our education, but on our community. We will not let fear take priority over love.
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