Refugees, Immigrants, and The American Muslim Ban

Photograph/Nuccio DiNuzzo

Photograph/Nuccio DiNuzzo

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by past Defiant writer Duaa Aljirafi.

It’s been two years and two months, but who’s counting? This past January marks the second year of the United States upholding the Muslim ban or as President Trump likes to refer to it, the  Travel Ban. Wow, it feels absolutely revolting to be actively writing the words Muslim Ban several times. Imagine writing about a Christian Ban that is currently into effect in the country you live in. Or a Jewish ban? Maybe an Atheist Ban? Pause for a moment and ponder over this. The religion that you identify with is being banned from entering a country in which you reside and have grown up in.

Initially, the Muslim Ban was introduced on January 27, 2017. The ban covered 7 predominantly Muslim countries: Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. One of the immediate devastating effects of this ban were people being detained at American airports and faced the possibility of being deported. Thousands of refugees en route to America were turned away and left stranded at airports with hopelessness and enormous loss (many of these refugees sold everything the owned to finance their journey to America). Furthermore, American citizens cannot bring relatives who are from the countries listed in the ban, not even their children or spouses. This inconceivable order has driven out hundreds of thousands of people, including famous figures such as Gigi Hadid and Chelsea Clinton, to march from streets to airports in solidarity with Muslims. Hundreds of lawyers drove out to airports to aid detained immigrants/ refugees that were affected by the ban and fought for their ability to stay in America. With the help of several civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the order was tried and successfully blocked several times in courts.

In 2018, President Trump passed a modified version of the Muslim Ban that removed Sudan and added Chad, Venezuela, and North Korea to the list in an attempt to divert the public’s opinion of this executive order being a part of an anti-Muslim agenda. Trump wants to tell the public that this is simply a ‘Travel’ ban aimed to protect the nation from potential terrorists, however, we know too well that that is not the case. The Muslim Ban has very little effects on North Korean and Venezuelan citizens. The restrictions of this ban only target a small category of Venezuelan government officials. In regards to North Korea, the iron-fisted government rarely permits its citizens to come to the U.S. Clearly, the hard felt effects will be on the backs of people from the Muslim majority countries.

Even with this ineffective alternation, the significant effects of this ban still remain observant to this day. Recently, there was a case in which the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) fought for entry of a Yemeni mother who was barred from entering America to see her dying 2-year old son, Abdullah, surviving on life support. With the assistance of the organization CAIR and the public’s outcry, the Yemeni mother was able to acquire a ‘travel’ ban waiver. Upon arrival, she was greeted at the airport with numerous news outlets and supporters holding posters one of them reading “I am a mother. Don’t ban me.” Abdullah’s mother was very lucky to obtain a waiver; Without CAIR’s intervention and public condemnation, she would not have been granted this waiver. After her long fight to obtain a visa waiver and finally meeting her son Abdullah, he died in the hospital days later surrounded by his loved ones.

Let’s be frank in this matter; Signing this executive order is where we have caused another smear in our book of American history. The Muslim Ban will never be a legacy to be proud of.