Banning innocents: Trump’s immigration ban meets resistance

By BENJAMIN HUMMELColumnist

As Donald Trump’s administration takes off to a rocky start, he has brought on hostile relations with Mexico over a border wall (as well as a border tax), withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ordered a ban on individuals seeking refuge from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen).

Despite accusations of an Islamophobic agenda, and his previous plan of a Muslim ban proposed in the campaign, Trump insists that this is not about religion; instead, it is about safety.

In the White House press secretary’s speech over the weekend, Sean Spicer indicated that those listed in the ban were countries of “particular concern,” and that the order’s warrants should not be taken into question. 

Although the vast majority of these refugees are women and children, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the ban might have retained some sort of principle, had the executive order not made an exception for “religious minorities,” which would effectively allow Christians and Jews into the United States, giving them “priority” over Muslim refugees. It is kind of hard not to read into Trump’s intent, even from just a quick glance over of the order.

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately denounced the immigration ban, and they put forth a lawsuit that would block the action, allowing refugees to come in for an extended amount of time. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, urged department lawyers not to defend Trump’s order and was fired Monday.

Several protests took place, with several prominent figures making appearances, chief among them being Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass,) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). 

In a video showing Warren addressing a crowd of protesters, she said, “It is illegal, it is unconstitutional and it will be overturned.” However, it should be noted that leading members of the GOP, Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have also spoken against the order as well, much to the chagrin of president Trump, who tweeted that they should “focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration, and border security instead of always looking for ways to start World War III.”

Lewis was shown on Twitter sitting with Iranian families who are being held at the airport, awaiting information.

As controversy grows, many news outlets are taking a closer look at the order itself, often punching holes in its logic. For instance, Trump notes 9/11 as a major reason a ban such as this is needed, saying terrorists are likely hiding among the refugees pouring into the country. However, if that was the case, he should be focusing on where those terrorists came from: namely Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia wasn’t on the ban list.

Pamela Engel of Business Insider said this was a strategic move; Trump does not want to anger large exporters of oil.

Once again, America finds itself embroiled in yet another crisis of policy, brought on by someone whom many would deem incompetent at best, and dangerously apathetic at worst.

Benjamin Hummel is an English and speech & communications major and can be reached at [email protected]