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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Columns

Executive order cannot discern between refugees and extremists


What does a terrorist or Islamic extremist look like? Can you tell the difference between an extremist and a refugee?

There is no way to tell who is a jihadist and who is an innocent refugee.

In the first few weeks of his term, President Trump committed the biggest case of racial profiling in the history of modern society.  

Most United States citizens can agree that terrorism is a real, horrible plague on not only our nation, but the world. However, there is no justification for punishing tens of millions for the actions of a few.  

One claim is that each of the nations on the ban list has produced terrorists who have attacked the U.S.  

Banning Iranian nationals is a big issue. There has never been an Iranian national terrorist. I challenge President Trump to produce evidence otherwise.

There are also millions of Syrian refugees trying to escape a war-torn nation. There are men, women and children who have seen horrors such as Aleppo, and all they seek is freedom.

Similarly, Libya’s place on the list is almost humorous, given the fact that our nation is directly responsible for its destabilization during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s term. One Muslim country that is not on the list is Saudi Arabia: a country historically proven to have funded terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida.

This order is not only distasteful, it is a slap in the face to the brave, honorable men and women who, although being foreign nationals, assist our armed forces in the Middle East.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi man who put himself and his family in harm’s way during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, served the U.S. as a translator. He is directly responsible for several successful missions because of his knowledge of the local languages and landscapes.

Thankfully, Darweesh was released and returned to his family. However, he should have never been detained in the first place.

To make matters worse, President Trump’s ban only pertains to Muslims from these countries. U.S. citizens, green card holders and visa holders are permitted to enter, as long as they are members of Christian or Jewish faiths. Although the president has sole authority to invite or bar immigrants and refugees to and from the U.S., his authority does not always go unchecked.

Judge Ann Donnelly, a federal judge from Brooklyn, started to pick apart the executive order by declaring that immigrants and refugees who were mid-flight during the signing could not be sent home after being detained. The problem: she left those people and border control in limbo. No one is sure who is allowed to stay and who must go.

It is understandable that, given escalated terror around the world, the Trump administration wants to protect the borders. One can even claim that desperate times call for desperate measures. However, human rights should never be violated, people should never be discriminated against and the fundamental principles of the Constitution should always be upheld.  

What most of Trump’s supporters fail to understand is that these refugees and immigrants are not knocking on the door and asking for welfare or food stamps. They are seeking asylum from unstable countries. Just like the Irish in the 1920s, or the Italians in the 1940s, these are hard-working, innocent people looking to achieve that American dream.

Give them the natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that each human deserves from birth. Citizen or not, America is supposed to be the land of the free, not the land of the aggressively racist.

Opinion columnist John Brucato is an economics senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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