Calling on the European Union to accept the refugees denied access to the USA under Trump
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President Trump's executive order 'Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States', has suspended entry to the United States of all refugees for 120 days; it has indefinitely barred the entry of Syrian refugees; and it has imposed a blanket ban on entry for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
''We don't want them here'', proclaimed Trump.
The target is clear: Muslims. The insinuation is also clear: Muslims cannot be trusted, and many of them are terrorists, or pose a threat to the United States. This ignores the contribution Muslims and refugees have made and continue to make to American society. It ignores the desperate plight of people fleeing from war and persecution and flies in the face of both the American constitution and international law. It is a discriminatory act that encourages an 'us and them' attitude, singling out people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity and citizenship. It ignores the fact that Americans are more likely to die of gun crime, their own clothing or unstable furniture than they are to be victims of terrorist attacks; the fact that no citizens of the countries listed has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the US; how stringent vetting procedures already are; and the damage that US foreign policy has inflicted on many of the countries whose citizens are affected by this ban.
I thus call on the European Union and its member states to stand up to such a move by offering entry to all the individuals affected. Not only would this send a strong message to the Trump administration; it would offer hope to those whose lives are now left in limbo. It would represent a much-needed gesture of solidarity to people in desperate need of help, forced to flee their homes, and undeserving of the scorn and ignorance displayed by the US government's actions. It would show that we stand up for our values, and will not follow the US down this dangerous path of sowing fear and deepening divisions rather than seeking to heal them.
Europe needs to stand up and proclaim that such acts are not acceptable; that we can hold ourselves to a better standard; that we value all people equally, regardless of their background; and that we will protect those in desperate need.
Sources: The New York Times; The Washington Post; Vox;
Photo: By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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