(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Since his inauguration, President Trump has not managed to quash the controversy surrounding his campaign pledges, now with a contentious travel ban he has further fuelled the flames of controversy.
As many of us are probably aware last Friday 27th January, a week after his inauguration President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from 7 Muslim predominant countries from entering the USA. The countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, roughly 218 million people. Now six days from his controversial populist policy there has been much outrage, as well as false facts flying around. I’ll now try my best to straighten out these ‘alternative facts‘.
1.Obama Started the Ban
Not true, despite Trump’s misleading wording that his extreme vetting policy is “similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months”. Firstly refugees don’t travel on visas and more importantly, Obama’s six-month increased vetting on Iraqi refugees was context-specific, based on actual evidence. A 2013 ABC report revealed that the fingerprint of Waad Ramadan Alwan, an Iraqi refugee living in Kentucky, was discovered on remnants of a roadside bomb in Iraq. This led to a backlog on processing times of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) from Iraq, but during the time there was not a single month in which no Iraqis arrived here.
2. A Muslim Ban
Technically it’s not a Muslim ban despite the misconceptions in many news outlets. Instead, it’s a ban on 7 Muslim-majority countries for 90 days with Syrian refugees banned indefinitely. Nonetheless, it does discriminate against Muslims as Christian refugees may be exempt from the U.S. Refugee Admission Programme ban after 120 days.
3. It’s Legal
Far from it. Although Trumps administration claims that the ban is not based on religion, despite the 7 countries coming from Muslim majority countries or his campaign pledge of a temporary ban on Muslims, the ban is still seen by many, as discriminatory thus in violation of America’s 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. This has resulted in many lawmakers, from New York to Seattle allowing those with valid visas or green cards (before amendments to the order) to avoid deportation. As of 1st February, L.A District Judge Andre Birotte Jr filed a lawsuit on behalf of 28 Yemeni-born US citizens, and their families in Yemen who received immigrant visas for the U.S. Advocacy groups say we can expect more succinct lawsuits against Trump in the next few days.
4. How many people have been affected
Trump claims that only 109 people out of 325,000 were affected by the travel ban. However, this does not take into account those families who have been split up, visa holders trying to board planes (before amendment) , and people detained once their flight has landed. It’s been suggested the figure is close to 90,000 and will only worsen as the 120 days wears on. Such discriminatory policies condone hatred, which is no surprise why a Texas Mosque was burnt down last Saturday, nonetheless the good people of America stood up and donated $800,000 for its repairs.
5. Travel ban will make US safer
UK Home secretary Amber Rudd sees Trump’s travel ban as a “potential propaganda opportunity” by Islamic State. A pro-ISIS account on Telegram (an encrypted communication app) praised Trump as “the best caller to Islam,” suggesting Trumps’s ban will fuel recruitment. In fact, according to US-based SITE monitoring service, discussions on social media, by various jihadists have said the order unveiled America’s “hatred towards Muslims”. However, only 1/3 of Americans think Trump’s Travel ban will make them safer.
6. Green Card Holders Now Allowed
Trumps Administration has tweaked the order which controversially stopped green card holders from entering the U.S. Now on his 1st February daily briefing, Sean Spicer’s revealed to press that “They no longer need a waiver because if they are a legal permanent resident they won’t need it anymore”.
Chijioke Anosike TWN Editor