On January 27, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, dubbed the Muslim Ban because of its ban on immigrants from Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The administration tried to pass off the executive order as a ban on people from countries that pose a threat to national safety. However, none of the countries listed in the ban were sources of terrorists who were successful in their attacks. In fact, Saudi Arabia, which was a source for the murder of over 2,000 people on 9/11, was not listed on the ban, presumably because of President Trump’s business ties.
The ban also favored Christian people coming from these countries over Muslims.
Right when President Trump signed the executive order, people flooded, most notably, Kennedy International Airport in protest of the detainment of two Iraqi refugees. People hung up banners all over the country, especially a sign saying “Refugees Welcome” on the Statue of Liberty.
The ban was taken to a federal court, where it lost on the grounds that no countries listed on the ban were responsible for threats to national security. Recently, President Trump instated a new ban, including six of the seven countries (Iraq was removed) and removing preferences for non-Muslims.
However, the executive order still cuts the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000 and still leaves room for more countries to be added to the list.
Though these incidents seem far away, the Muslim ban affects people nationwide, including those in our own community.
Senior Manush Mobarhan could not leave the country because of the ban, especially because she holds a dual citizenship in Iran and because she is a green card holder. She says, “What I found really ironic about the whole situation is that I’m not even Muslim so the ban didn’t work!”
Mobarhan does not find plausibility in the Trump administration’s claims for national security. She says, “Travel bans are something that have been put in place many times in the past in order to ‘protect’ countries from specific groups of people. They’re generally ineffective and have not found to decrease crime/terrorism at all. Nevertheless, I think the ban was put in place as a naive attempt to keep the country safe.”
She also states, “I would tell supporters of the ban to do their research. There has not been a single incident of terrorism in the United States from anyone from the seven countries in the ban. Travel bans have historically not reduced crime or increased safety. Immigrants already go through a ridiculously detailed and thorough background check before getting a visa to the United States. The ban is ineffective, inefficient, unnecessarily divisive, and at the end of the day just plain racist.”
Though Mobarhan says she has not personally experienced a rise in Islamophobia, she has noticed an increase throughout the country and is scared for the future of the country. She says, “Society generally has a pretty short memory and I’m scared that although there are very obvious signs of fascism with the current administration that mirror dictators of the past, these signs will be overlooked and we’ll walk right into the trap of oppressive fascism.”
But these fears do not stop her from fighting the oppressive tactics of the government. Mobarhan attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Her parents also protested against the ban in local airports.
And she encourages others to do the same. Since she believes that it is important to engage in activism and allyship, Mobarhan says, “Going to protests is a great show of support! It’s important for lawmakers to see opposition from a diverse group of people.” She also encourages those who cannot participate in these protests to write to and call their senators and representatives to express their disapproval of the ban.