The American dream transformed into a nightmare on Jan. 27 when President Donald Trump signed an executive order indefinitely suspending admissions for Syrian refugees and temporarily restricting the entrance of other refugees into the U.S. from six additional Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya.
The move appears to undermine the very foundation of the United States. Less than 24-hours after the order was signed, Washington state’s attorney general – who was later joined with overwhelming support from a number of other states – sued Trump on the basis that the order was “unconstitutional.” This suit led to federal district court Judge James Robart upending Trump’s order nation-wide, temporarily pausing the major travel provisions for foreign nationals, according to CNN. The temporary halt of the order also allowed green card and visa-holders, who had been travelling internationally, to return to the U.S.
“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped on,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.”
The Justice Department added to the lawsuits and filed a new defense on Monday arguing that the ban was a “lawful exercise of the president’s authority” to defend national security and requested the ban be reinstated, according to CNN, although it contradicts the constitution’s principle of not discriminating based on religion. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government’s “emergency request” to resume the ban and asked both sides to present arguments for or against it on Tuesday before making a final decision later in the week.
The director of policy at the International Refugee Assistance Project Betsy Fisher said, “The executive order doesn’t say ‘we’re banning Muslims’. It says, ‘we’re banning people from Muslim countries except for the non-Muslims’.”
While announcing his exertion at the Department of Defense on Friday, Trump reflected upon the memory of the 9/11 terror attacks, and said, “We will never forget the lessons of 9/11, nor the heroes who have lost their lives at the Pentagon.”
While this statement holds truth, it is irrelevant to Trump’s travel ban since zero of the 19 hijackers who committed the attack were from countries cited in the order.
In fact, between 1975 and 2015, foreign nationals from the seven countries targeted by Trump’s executive order have killed zero Americans on U.S. soil, according to an analysis of terrorist attacks published by the Cato Institute.
The abrupt executive order caused immense confusion with little time for education of those expect-ed to carry out Trump’s order. This was no exception for the former Prime Minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik. Bondevik told CNN’s “Connect the World” that he was interrogated by officials for “over an hour” at Washington’s Dulles International Airport Jan. 31 due to an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport.
“Did they really believe that I presented a problem or threat to the U.S.?” Bondevik said. “I expected they would show more flexibility and wisdom.”
As a head of the human rights organization Oslo Center, Bondevik wholly disagrees with the ban, calling it “a contradiction” to his “view on human dignity,” according to CNN. He said the incident “speaks to a wider issue of concern brought on by the President’s first actions in office.”
However, Bondevik is only one out of the millions of faces directly impacted by Trump’s ban.
Like so many others, Boston University student Raya Bidshahri, 21, can relate to the impact. Bidshahri, originally from Iran, told CNN: “Above all, it’s heartbreaking. My family and I have always dreamed of coming to the United States and accomplishing our dreams here… We are treated like we’re terrorists, as if we want to cause trouble when above all we just want to make the United States a better place – con-tributing whether it’s through re-search, studying, or entrepreneurship.”