The President's Travel Ban and It's Effect on America

Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the controversial travel ban issued by President Trump.  This ruling upholds restrictions limiting entry to America from individuals that reside in the following countries: Somalia, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela[1]  The purpose of the President’s ban was to protect America from threats to our National Security against the countries that are likely to do us harm.

This purpose sounds great in theory, because no country would want to experience a 9/11 attack.  The countries on the list seem to be the ones that are prone to violence. However, they are not the ones involved in the 9/11 attacks. Those attacks were mainly carried out by individuals from Saudi Arabia.[2]  If 9/11 was the President’s motivation for the travel ban and Saudi Arabia was not included in the list of countries, the question then becomes why these countries and what do they have in common?

The underlying commonality these countries have – except North Korea and Venezuela – is their religion.  These are predominately Muslim countries, and this is why this travel ban is controversial.  To ban a citizen from another country based on religion, is a sharp turn for a country that was founded on freedom from religious persecution.

In the President’s America we are a country that values immigrants of our choosing, and those immigrants must have the right pedigree and the right religion.  The President has not been bashful about immigrants that he doesn’t agree with.  A New York Times article has cited the President saying in a cabinet meeting, “…. Haitians ….all have AIDS, as well as Nigerians, who …would never go back to their huts,…”  The President also tweeted, “The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border; risking thousands of lives in the process.”[3]  The stance the President has made on the countries he personally has negative feelings about, was upheld by Chief Justice John Roberts when he wrote, “…presidents have substantial power to regulate immigration,” and “….restricting entry of aliens who could not be vetted with adequate information was in the national interests.”  The problem with this last statement is, who decides what the adequate information is?

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made unjust rulings that gave rise to unjust laws.  If we look at Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) – which established separate but equal – this ruling gave rise to Black Code, Jim Crow, and other numerous unjust laws.  Although Plessy vs. Ferguson was not overturned, it wasn’t until 1954 in Brown vs. Board of Education that the Supreme Court saw their error in separation – because separation doesn’t make you equal it makes one group feel superior towards another group. 

This policy is a form of Plessy vs. Ferguson all over again.  The Superior Country denies entry to the Inferior Country based solely on religion or how the President personally feels about those individuals.  Although America has come a long way from the days of separation based on skin color, the damage to the fabric of America has been done, and we are still trying to sew the pieces back together.  This policy can undo everything that we as Americans have fought so hard, in the hopes of moving forward together.

We are not making America Great, we are making America Worse.  The only way to fight unjust laws is through just actions.  It’s time that we show this administration that we are not in the GOP’s America, nor are we in Trump’s America.  It’s time that we truly had an America that was for all the people, and by the people.  This is Democracy, and this is what the Democrats are fighting for.

Written by Mozella Bell, Louisiana FDW

[1] National Security and Defense, “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorist or Other Public – Safety Threats,” 24 Sept 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-enhancing-vetting-capabilities-processes-detecting-attempted-entry-united-states-terrorists-public-safety-threats/

[2] Pamela Engel, “Trump’s immigration ban doesn’t include the country most of the 9/11 hijackers came from,” Business Insider, 30 Jan 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/trumps-muslim-ban-saudi-arabia-911-2017-1

[3] Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and Thomas Kaplan, “Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa,” The New York Times, 11 Jan 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/politics/trump-shithole-countries.html