Criticism of the Refugee Ban

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

Recently President Trump issued a ban on travelers from seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. It also modified some other policies which suspended new refugee admissions for 120 days and capped the total number of refugees allowed into the country at 50,000. When asked for clarification on the matter, the administration stated it was about keeping the country safe from terror (source).

So, what’s really going on here?
The claim that this new order will protect us from terrorism is a bit overstated. Yes, a large number of terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslim extremists; the State Department cited ISIL and the Taliban as being responsible for 32% of all terrorist attacks in 2015. However, that violence is predominantly limited to the Middle East, some Pacific islands, and Nigeria. Indeed, there is more terrorism going on in India, Nigeria, and Egypt than in Syria, and Syria includes most of ISIL’s attacks. Furthermore, Afghanistan is a country with the second highest rate of terrorist violence, and it is also not on the list.

Another problem is that non-Muslims are more likely to commit terrorist acts in the U.S. than Muslims. Even by grossly overstated estimates, the highest level of terrorist violence against U.S. citizens by Muslim perpetrators is just under 10%. It might even be more fairly put at 2.5%. According to the link above, a person is more likely to be killed by an extremist advocating animal rights or protesting against war than by a Muslim terrorist. In fact, U.S. citizens are more in danger of catching lethal brain parasites than dying to a Muslim terrorist attack; the ban contains no information on curbing the travel of these parasites from abroad.

If this order is an attempt to protect the U.S. from terrorism, where are the facts which support that conclusion? Simply saying that there’s a terrorist in a country that might come here isn’t enough; casting a net that wide would mean we couldn’t allow any immigrants or refugees into our country. To say it’s tailored to violence is also misleading, because the list didn’t include India, Pakistan, Nigeria, or Afghanistan – just to name a few.

I don’t think this is a good way for a President to endear himself to the majority of Americans that don’t like him.
What this President and his supporters are failing to appreciate is that he is not desired by most Americans to be in office. His Presidency does not reflect a will of the people; it reflects a will of geography and other electoral stars which all had to be in alignment for him to get elected. The promises he made were to people only have majorities in smaller or rural areas. If he’s trying to make good on his promise to ban Muslims, he’s barking up the wrong tree.

That’s an unintended consequence which people might find good or bad, depending upon one’s point of view. I can’t think of a better way to galvanize people who support equality under the law than to treat people differently for no articulable reason. In short, signing this order is just another reason for people to vote for non-GOP candidates.

The conclusion.
This ban on countries makes no defensible sense, at least with the facts I was able to find. President Trump doesn’t seem to be off to a good start in his administration. While his actions might pander to the people that voted for him, it’s only doing harm in the eyes of the majority of people that didn’t want him there.

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