New administration’s “Muslim ban” defies logic, morality
In a move unprecedented in its lack of clarity and human decency, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Jan. 27, banning travel to the U.S from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days — effective immediately — and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days. Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.
The order seems to be an attempt to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. While he has been careful to not call the order a “Muslim ban,” all seven countries listed are comprised of Muslim majorities, and Trump himself said that the order would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here.”
However, this order, which could keep up to 200 million people out of the country, is, without trivializing its fundamental lack of moral decency, wholly absurd and illogical if its sole purpose is to keep terrorists out of the U.S. A grand total of zero immigrants from countries included in the travel ban have killed anyone on U.S. soil in terror attacks in the last 40 years, and this number includes refugees. The CATO Institute claims that Americans have a 0.00003 percent chance of dying in an attack by a foreign-born terrorist. The numbers just do not add up.
What does add up, however, is Trump’s bigotry, compounded with a nationalist echo chamber created by his closest advisers, having direct — and distinctly dangerous — policy and national security implications. During his campaign, he called for a “total and complete shutdown of the entry of Muslims to the United States.” For extremist groups like the Islamic State, which recruit their members on the message that the West is at war with Islam, this sentiment, now channeled in the form of actual policy, helps push their marketing and recruitment narratives. Furthermore, this order could alienate leaders of Muslim nations across the world, who may now feel that the U.S. is openly denigrating their religion.
What’s more, Trump’s signing of the Executive Order on Holocaust Remembrance Day underscores his utter ignorance and indifference toward history. The U.S. refused to accept thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe on the eve of World War II, helping partially set the stage for the Holocaust. Today, Syrian refugees in particular are fleeing a horrific civil war that has left over 400,000 dead over the past five years. Considering that the U.S. already has a stringent vetting process for refugees to ensure that terrorists are not entering the country, entirely banning these refugees from entering the country is grossly inhumane.
This country is a melting pot of different cultures, religions and ethnicities. UC Davis, in particular, attempts to be a beacon of diversity and acceptance. On Jan. 30, interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter sent out an email to UC Davis students, writing that, “No matter where our community members come from or what religion they practice, UC Davis—in keeping with our country’s founding vision—welcomes and extends its respect to them.” According to the email, UC Davis has 53 students and 23 scholars from Iran; four students and one scholar from Iraq; and three students from Libya.
The Editorial Board hopes that the activism displayed by UC Davis students and community members over the past few weeks — including those who attended the national Women’s March on Jan. 21 and those who showed up at airports over the past weekend to protest the president’s immigration ban — will be a pillar of life under this new presidential administration, whose ideals are so disparate to those embodied by the UC Davis community. We also want to recognize the importance and courage of leaders of “sanctuary cities” across the country, including Davis, who have vowed to not comply with any federal orders to deport undocumented immigrants within the city.
The actions of the Trump administration since the inauguration are equally baffling and cruel, and the next four years could easily be more of the same. The Editorial Board is heartened by the activism shown by the UC Davis community thus far, and we thank the efforts of student activists, faculty members and school administrators for their role in standing up against immoral, abhorrent policies.