Tag Archives: muslim ban

Why We Require Immigration

Even though fertility is significantly below the replacement rate our population maintains modest growth because of immigration. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as we are, with the exception of much-abused Native Americans, actually or ancestrally immigrants.

Immigration has come in waves from various locales but the one common feature is that immigrants come here to seek a better life for themselves and their families. The most recent wave of immigration is driven largely by those fleeing violence in Central America.

Our current policy, President Trump’s policy has been clear since he first ran for office in 2015 – isolationism. He has referred to immigrants from the south as murderers and rapists that must be prevented from entering the country. His iconic rally cry, build the wall (and Mexico will pay for it,) was little more than an anti-immigrant screed. Now almost four years later the wall is nowhere in sight and has had little to no impact on immigration.

Other actions by President Trump have had harmful effects on immigration. Draconian policies such as separating parents and children have been invoked punitively. Many of these immigrants, separated from their children, are here legally as asylum seekers.

To reduce the number of asylum seekers President Trump created a “safe third country” policy which allows the forced return of asylum seekers to any country they passed through on the way here. Many of these countries are as violent as their home countries. A migrant from El Salvador might pass through equally violent Nicaragua and Guatemala.

To further retard immigration President Trump lowered the total number of refugees allowed in the country from eighty thousand to eight thousand. In addition to migrants from Central America, President Trump set his sights on those from predominately Muslim countries with outright immigration bans.

He sought to eject from the country the so-called dreamers, individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Imagine you are a child brought here as an infant. Later as a young adult, you are forced out of the country back to a home country you never knew, where you don’t even speak the language.

Immigrants have traditionally taken those dangerous, bottom-rung jobs unacceptable to citizens. At the other end of the scale, many immigrants are talented professionals. Close to forty percent of Nobel prize winners in the life and physical sciences since 2000 are immigrants.

This is no time for xenophobia. Immigrants, documented or otherwise, have lower rates of criminal behavior than citizens. Second-generation immigrants – their children are essentially fully integrated into society. They have similar family incomes and college graduation, and homeownership rates. Si se puede.

Dr. Bob Allen is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Arkansas Tech University.

The Travel Ban

During the presidential campaign Donald Trump made a point of excoriating Muslims. In December 2015 he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This Muslim ban was talked up throughout his campaign and even after his election but before the inauguration.

It is not surprising then that he acted on the proposition. His initial action was a blanket ban on all travelers from seven middle eastern countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. The ban was initially without exception, even for those who already had valid visas or green cards. The justification of the ban is based on protecting our citizens from terrorists. It is important to note that not a single terrorist attack has occurred in the United States by a citizen of any of the aforementioned countries. Not one.

The travel ban did not include several countries in the middle east whose citizens have committed terrorist acts, including the deadliest attack on American soil, the hijacking of planes and their subsequent suicidal attacks on the twin towers in New York and the pentagon in Washington, DC. These hijackers hailed from Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon, none of which are on the travel ban list.

The ultimate question is will this action really make us safer? As noted the travel ban was not on all Muslims, but on all citizens from a select group of predominantly Muslim countries, so strictly speaking it was not a Muslim ban. In politics however, perception is reality. Trump spoke of a Muslim ban but banned everyone from Muslim countries. This will be perceived by many as the Muslim ban that he flogged repeatedly.

There are close to 2 billion followers of Islam worldwide and most of them are neither in the middle east or have anything to do with terrorism, yet. The Muslims in the banned countries represent only 12 percent of all Muslims, yet all Muslims have been insulted by this action. It is easy to see how this could be used as a recruitment tool for groups such as ISIS and Al Queda. Will the ban make us less safe?

What we get with this travel ban is a further polarization of attitudes of our citizens, a questionable change in the likelihood of terrorism on our soil and an image to the international community that grows darker by the day.

The United States has been a beacon of hope and promise for the disenfranchised around the world. After all, we are in the main an immigrant nation. Our success as the world leader depends to some degree on perceptions of us as a free and open society.