Why is the Donald Trump’s travel ban so controversial? Many of the Chinese Americans that I have came to contact with have been supporters of Trump’s hostility towards immigrants, which is ironic really. Even though we are all immigrants ourselves, there has always been animosity between the long time immigrants and the newly immigrated. Trump’s executive order affected VISA holders and foreign passport holders from 7 countries, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. These 7 countries are majority Muslim, which is why a lot of people are referring to this executive order the Muslim Ban. Adding to his campaign hateful rhetoric to Muslims, it’s hard to not see this order as an action against a specific religion. Here are a few things to know about the Travel Ban executive order.
- This ban is a very bad sequel to our foreign policy for the past 50 years or so. The executive order does not specifically mention the 7 countries by name. The actual order says, “I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and non-immigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and non-immigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order.”
So where does the 7 country ban come from? From past bills that have been passed by the congress. Trump has just put it on steroids. The order said immigrants and non-immigrants, which means foreign visitors, VISA holders, and green card holders as well? Ironically, none of the terrorists from the 911 was from any of these countries. Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the terrorists were from, is excluded from this list.
2. Why does it almost makes sense? In the year 2016, the United States of America has dropped 26,171 bombs in 7 countries. Most of the bombs were dropped in Syria and Iraq, a total of 24,287 bombs. The other 5 countries are Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Does this list look familiar? Incidentally, or perhaps intentionally, we are banning entry of people from the same countries that we are bombing. Now that makes more sense. Why would we want to let them in after we’ve destroyed their home and country? Imagine watching bombs and airstrikes killing one’s families and friends and seeing the leftover bomb fragments barring the marking of US military. All of a sudden, the thought of having these refugees among us sets a lot of people on pins and needles. Perhaps at this time a better question would be why are we bombing them, still? In short, for the past 30 years or so, our struggle to unstablize the middle east has succeeded? That statement may be a little facetious, but the topic definitely warrants an closer look all by itself.
3. Why this ban is futile? Even though the ban kind of makes sense, it’s not going to make us any safer. Most of the violence and mass killings in America, are done by Americans. With a vast number of weapons afloat in the country, we are 7 times more likely to be killed by a right-winged extremist than a Muslim. There are estimated more than 265 million guns in the United States in 2015. The actual number is hard to define because many states like Texas, does not keep track of gun sales and trades. The point is, there’s more guns than people in this country. Look back and think of all of the mass killings has happened domestically since 911, most are committed by Americans with extremist believes. Yet, we continue to fail to pass any regulations on whom is qualified to possess firearms. Recently, lawmakers has repealed a regulation that banned mentally-illed from obtaining weapons. What sense does that make?
Furthermore, people move around. The middle east is much closer to Europe, and many refugees ended up there. Even Canada took in approximately 57,000 last year. We do not have a border wall up north, nor a travel ban against Canadians nor Europeans. Also keep in mind that many European countries allow dual citizenship. The travel ban is fairly easy to work around if someone really wants to get in. One step further, say someone with ill intention is able to get into our country, there is no regulation or oversight on how they cannot obtain a gun. Getting a gun is really easy especially in some of the red states that lacks of gun control.
4. Who are actually affected by this travel ban and why is it a disgrace? This ban came without an warning, it really is poorly executed. To many, that means, the order came mid-flight, during vacation, in the middle of a business trip, etc. What Donald Trump and many pro-ban people fail to understand is that people make plans, and this ban disrupt lives. Families with all necessary documents and VISA immigrating to the US had to be detained and held and turn back. People who have sold their homes and quit their jobs. Students traveling back to school after winter vacations. Academics, such as scholars, scientists, engineers, banned from entering even though they have been in the country before and often. Even the ex-Prime Minister of Norway was detained and held due to this ban. Mohammed Ali’s son and his mother was profiled at the airport. This ban, so carelessly and callously throws people’s lives into chaos, shows the disrespect our leaders has for not only the American people, but people world-wide.
After the ban was announced, not only Americans have stood together to protest against it. All around the world, it has caused an uproar. The acting head of DOJ halted the executive order was fired by President Trump. Lawsuits was filed by two cities against this ban and the court suspended the executive order. Trump has been vocal in challenging the oppositions and promised to update the executive order. What we need to understand is this, the American government has a built-in check and balance system that’s unlike the others, which is actually meant for times like this. If the President does something beyond his power that is warranted to him and or is unlawful, the court can and will stop him.
5. Why is it relevant to us? Let’s step back in history for a little bit, to the California gold rush in 1849. Around the same time, Chinese immigrants began coming to America. A majority of immigrants then were miners or contracted laborers coming to seek a fortune. Then, the gold diminished, due to economic downturn that the Chinese was often blamed for the depression. We, were the first ones that was banned from America. The ‘Workingman’s Party’ and the ‘Supreme Order of Caucasians’ blamed Chinese ‘coolies’ for low wages. Now, does that sound familiar? Funny how history tends to repeats itself and we have yet to learn from it.
The first significant law restricting immigration into the United States was passed in the spring of 1882. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur. This act provided an absolute 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. It was renewed in 1892 with the Geary Act and made permanent in 1902. The Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law implemented to prevent a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. It was repealed by the Magnuson Act on December 17, 1943.
This fact is often unknown to the majority of Chinese immigrants. Yes, some of us have been here for decades and are perhaps citizens, but in the eyes of some Americans, we still have yellow skin and black hair and that is how they can separate us from them. I’m often told to not forget my roots, the truth is that it’s not a matter if I will forget, sometimes it’s if I am allowed to forget. During his entire campaign, Donald Trump has been a mouthpiece speaking for the many that are against immigrants, against foreign labor, or simply against foreigners. He has been provocative against China as well as many others. I don’t doubt a second that each one of us could become his future target just as quickly. What gives me hope is seeing Americans bands together, stand up for each other and become indivisible.