(Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images)
Yesterday President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring all refugees from entering the U.S., and denying entry to people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The ban on people from those countries traveling to the United States is set to last 90 days, and the refugee ban is 90 days, except for refugees from Syria, who are banned indefinitely.
Trump’s order bans entry to people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the U.S. for the next 90 days, and Homeland Security told the New York Times that the ban even applies to people with green cards, which means that they are legal permanent residents. They have houses and jobs, and if they were traveling to visit family, they’re now being barred from coming home. This action will separate families and ruin people’s lives. What would happen to any of us if we were suddenly prevented from entering the country for three months? Most of us probably wouldn’t have our jobs waiting for us when we got back. People will lose jobs and homes because of this.
The ban also applies to people with jobs here, and student visas. Yale, MIT, and Stanford are just a few of the U.S. universities that have students who were studying abroad, traveling, or visiting family, and who are now not being allowed back into the country. Harvard professor Thomas Michel told the Times that he was supposed to welcome a cardiovascular medicine research specialist from Iran, who had already been thoroughly vetted and was supposed to be conducting a research fellowship on cardiovascular science at Harvard, but his visa was just suspended as part of this order.
Just one of the absurd examples of people being kept out of the United States is Oscar-winning Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi, who is nominated for an Academy Award this year, but will not be allowed to attend the Oscars due to the ban, US Weekly reports. The Oscars fall on February 26.
Iran responded Saturday by calling the order an “obvious insult,” and banning all U.S. citizens from entering Iran.
When signing his executive order, Trump said he would be giving preferential status to Christian refugees over Muslims, but they aren’t getting in either right now. A family of six Christian refugees from Syria told the Times they’re being detained at the Philadelphia airport even though they had been approved for entry and had green cards, visas, and all their legal paperwork.
According to the New York Times, Trump alleged that the U.S. had been discriminating against Christian refugees and showing preference for Muslims in previous years, but the New York Times says PEW Research Center numbers indicate that there is nearly parity between the two groups. In 2016, 37,521 Christian refugees came to the U.S., and 38,901 Muslim refugees came.
One can’t help but wonder how this will look to future generations. History is happening around us, and someday kids are going to have to learn about this in school. When I was in school we learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese workers from immigrating to the U.S. My teachers explained that the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first major immigration ban in the U.S., and it banned immigration for no other reason than national origin, and I don’t recall a single teacher trying to justify it or say it was a good or reasonable thing. History does not tend to look kindly on this sort of thing.