Refugee ban: the facts do not back up the fears

JACOB BENNETT
Contributing Writer

So you may have heard something about a refugee ban.

On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order placing an immediate 120-day halt on any and all refugee resettlement, as well as a 90-day ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. Citizens of Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran were no longer allowed access into the United States because they were deemed too high of a terroristic threat.

The travel ban was stalled by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but President Trump plans to issue a revised version that will target the same majority-Muslim countries with a likely focus on fewer people so it will survive legal challenges.

I tried to be unbiased and look at this situation objectively. Oftentimes we let our emotions lead us to make wrong decisions and deciding upon a political opinion is no different. However, reading through the news the weekend this all went down, I couldn’t help but be horrified at the chaos our president caused.

One Iraqi man Hameed Khalid Darweesh was detained for 18 hours at the JFK International Airport in New York City, just for being Iraqi. Darweesh spent years working for the U.S. military as an interpreter overseas.

Dozens of legal green-card-holding residents were held at the Dulles International Airport in D.C., including an Iranian mother and 5-year-old son who were separated for hours.

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching story I read was about the 4-month-old baby from Iran whose family was taking her to America for heart surgery. Needless to say, they were turned away.

As Rudy Giuliani (who helped write the order) pointed out to Fox News, the executive action was a legalized way of banning Muslims from entering the U.S., something Trump called for in December 2015.

While the ban is appalling to many, to Trump’s voters, it makes sense—and I can see why. After all, there are radicals in the Middle East who want to destroy America, all in the name of their so-called Islamic faith. If we can stop terrorist attacks from being committed on U.S. soil, we should take every step to do so. But Trump’s executive order does not accomplish this.

The order repeatedly cites the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as a basis for the ban, yet it does not ban the countries the al-Qaeda hijackers were from: Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In fact, no Americans at all have been killed by foreigners from the seven countries Trump listed. Since 1975, a grand total of 20 refugees have been charged—twenty—of attempting terrorism.

The facts simply do not back up the fears that led to this executive order. To quote the Cato Institute: “The annual chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.6 billion.” You’re literally more likely to be shot by a toddler than to be killed by a refugee.

This ban is hurting more people than it is helping. Not only is it turning thousands of people away from a safe haven back to be slaughtered in their war-torn countries, but it is also making us less safe by giving ISIS perfect recruiting material.

“Overall [ISIS’] view is almost certainly that Trump’s persona would be a boon to them as an organization,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, an American counter-terrorism consultant, said. “Given what is widely perceived as inflammatory rhetoric in the campaign, they think they can recruit around Trump in a way they could not around [Hillary] Clinton.”

But I guess Trump just tells it like it is, or something.

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