This past weekend, Trump signed an executive order that included a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as well as a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program in those countries. The media was quick to call Trump’s move a Muslim ban because the seven countries are majority Muslim, and social media was whipped in in a frenzy. As always, the media has politicized the situation, and nuanced opinions are non-existent. Here is how this complicated situation needs to be broken down.
First of all, this is not a Muslim ban because citizens of all religions in those countries are subject to the executive order. In fact, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria, are the five highest population Muslim countries in the world are not listed in Trump’s decree as well as 40 other majority-Muslim countries. It seems like the media is quick to forget that in 2011, Obama implemented a 6-month halt on Iraqi refugees after it was discovered that terrorists infiltrated the program. Furthermore contrary to various reports, Reince Priebus has said that the executive order does not affect green card holders and that they will be subject to extra screening if they are returning to the United States from suspicious countries. In actuality, Trump’s executive order is a temporary halt to reassess the migration policies that America has towards certain Middle Eastern countries.
Even though I resent how the media is characterizing the situation, that does not mean I fully support Trump’s decision because the way he implemented; it was extremely poor. Trump’s executive order was on short notice and gave very little time for Customs agents to prepare or make clarifications about the new policy, which led to mass confusion at airports nationwide. People with valid visas have been detained for hours on end, and their legal statuses are in limbo. Some of those who are unable to board flights to the United States include scientists and doctors whose work and research are meant to help America. Trump should have consulted with experienced government officials first before he implemented the executive order and then notify travelers beforehand and grandfathered those who already completed the vetting process.
Furthermore, this temporary halt should have been more consistent throughout the Middle East to countries where terrorists in the past have originated such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. If the list included those countries, then it would have made it easier for Trump to justify his executive order against criticism people have against it.
Overall, with the mess of refugees in Europe and the increasingly unstable world we live in, it only makes sense in the name of security to reconsider America’s policy on refugees. However, the Trump administration needs to learn from its mistakes it made to more smoothly implement policy in the future.