Infamous Immigration Ban: The Friends School Perspective

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Since his inauguration on January 20th, Donald Trump’s biggest initiative has been on immigration. His proposed ban, which has since been halted by US District Judge James Robart, sought to impede immigration from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya. Each of these countries, President Trump asserts, are hotbeds for terrorism. When questioned as to how he chose the aforementioned countries, Trump cited the 9/11 attacks, saying that the hijackers were born and trained in these countries. In fact, however, they were Egyptian, Saudi Arabian, and Lebanese citizens—none of the immigrants Trump seeks to halt.


This executive order generated controversy, as it was deemed by many, including the ninth district justices who upheld Robart’s decision,  unconstitutional. This is likely because the act disproportionately affects Muslim immigrants. During his campaign, Trump promised his base electorate he would halt Muslim immigration. For many conservatives, a hiatus in Muslim immigration may mean a hiatus for terrorism in the US. For many liberals, Trump’s decree blaming Islam for terrorism is reminiscent of Hitler’s blaming Judaism as the country’s greatest pitfall.


Among friends school students, there is no consensus. Slovakian exchange student Christian Filt says, “I think that [Trump’s ban] is hypocritical since it targets Muslims while one of the values the US constitution stands for is religious inclusivity. It undermines the fundamental freedom of movement, to which the US agreed to in the Geneva convention. Furthermore, it doesn’t achieve the end Trump wants. None of the countries affected by the ban have ever had their citizen kill Americans. It is also quite suspicious he excluded banning countries he has business ties with – countries where most terrorism actually occurs.”


However, another junior who here shall remain anonymous contended that, “It is the best decision right now for the safety of our country. This is not based off upon religion, but rather off of the countries that the president feel are the biggest threat to our country. Here’s an analogy that sums it up perfectly. If I gave you a bowl with 20 grapes in it and told you that one of the grapes was poisonous would you eat any of them? The answer every single time I ask someone this is no. It’s the same with the people coming from these countries…I support this ban.”


However, the grape analogy is flawed, in that it can be used to undermine second amendment rights. Should a gun salesman distribute one hundred handguns if one will be used by a school shooter? If we abide by our instinctual response to halt immigrants, we are becoming a slave to our own fear.


Charles “Chip” Barrett, who attended the inauguration in January, believes that Trump’s ban challenges the US’s identity as a melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups. He says, “The ban is not only unethical because it targets muslims disproportionately, but it is detrimental because this nation is one of immigrants.”


Trump is hardly laying down after a defeat in court. On February 21st, he began working to revise his ban. His revised version will, however, target the same seven countries. Our country and school, an “American microcosm” in this regard, are divided, undecided, and ineffective.


Liberals and conservatives alike agree that Trump’s ban is not the most effective course of action to eradicate Islamic terrorism. Until one is determined, however, an ailing America will again fail to do so.

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