On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump proposed a travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries in an effort to keep terrorists out of the country, according to The New York Times.
Trump’s executive order attempted to halt refugees from Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days. Syrian refugees would have been banned indefinitely. Ray Sanchez and Madison Park of CNN reported that the order also “suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated for nationals of countries that Trump’s Cabinet believes can be properly vetted.”
Further, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Kelly-Anne Conway, an adviser to Trump, cited two Iraqi refugees committing “the Bowling Green massacre” as justification for the ban. There’s only one problem: As The Washington Post eloquently said, “There has never been a terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky, carried out by Iraqi refugees or anyone else.” Trump and his closest advisers are resorting to lying as a means to defend this policy.
I have family members in Homs who are now stranded in a war-stricken country, and this refugee ban is of unfathomable alarm to me. My family will never have the chance of immigrating to America.
As a result of his order, hundreds of people were stranded at airports nationwide. Many were separated from their families under the threat of being deported.
Despite the official language coming out of the White House, myself and countless other Americans believe this proposed ban was nothing but a Muslim ban disguised as an “immigration ban.”
It was racist.
It was discriminatory.
It was un-American.
America was founded by immigrants who fled their countries to escape religious persecution. Who are we to turn our backs now?
Americans need to give refugees a chance at a new life. These people, these human beings, want nothing more than to settle down in a secure country. An article by BBC News stated that Germany had accepted more than 476,000 refugees in 2015. Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper at The New York Times explained that the US accepted 37,521 Christian refugees and 38,901 Muslim refugees in 2016.
Kim Bellware of The Huffington Post spoke to Holocaust survivors to grasp their opinions of the ban. Bellware spoke to Fritzie Fritzshall: “Hunger came back to me, that [refugees] are facing. The cold that they’re facing, the immigration lines we face that we [couldn’t] get out of. And this is what’s happening here.” Many of the other survivors Bellware spoke with said they felt heavily “marginalized by the Americans.”
These refugees have given up their entire lives for the chance at the “American dream.” Men, women and children have been smuggled in boats through the night. Syrian households and entire towns have been destroyed.
There are children like Aylan Kurdi, who washed ashore on a Turkish beach. His frail, 3-year-old body lying face-down shook the world. The photograph went viral as a horrid reminder of the realities of war.
However, it took yet another Syrian toddler to shock the world into action.
Omran Daqneesh, who was photographed covered in dust after an airstrike, fought to stay alive but still ended up in the back of an ambulance. Many Facebook users shared that photo of little Omran, wishing that they could somehow help this boy. After he had to be pulled from the rubble of his house, he had no more tears to cry. So he sat, and so did the rest of the world.
If you wish you could do something for Omran, or Aylan, now is the time. It is time to break away from the glowing screen and take action. March. Protest (peacefully). Write to your government. Now is the time to let your actions speak.