As President Donald Trump's new "Muslim ban" executive order was signed and presented to the public, organizations took the opportunity to stand to the president. They hope to set the wheels into motion so that the courts and Congress will challenge the plan.
According to The Washington Post, the new executive order bans immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries from obtaining visas to the United States. As it stands, immigrants from Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are impacted.
Furthermore, the order also states that the refugee program should be suspended for 120 days. And while the previous administration had established a 110,000 cap, the new order limits the number of refugees being allowed into the country each year to 50,000.
Despite having initially “[conceded] defeat” on the travel ban, the Trump administration decided to roll out this new set of rules. But moments after the executive order was signed, the ACLU's Immigrants’ Rights Project director Omar Jadwat issued a statement, saying that, unfortunately, the president's new plan fails to address the immorality of his previous “Muslim ban.”
“The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible. Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws. The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban.”
But instead of taking that route, Trump has “recommitted himself to religious discrimination,” Jadwat continued, and that's why organizations like the ACLU will keep fighting to ensure his plans receive “continued disapproval from both the courts and the people.”
After receiving more than $24 million in online donations in one weekend following Trump's first executive order on immigration, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the administration. The case involved Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq, two Iraqi men who were detained and threatened with deportation after arriving at the Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Now, the ACLU is vowing to take the new order to court, claiming that it's unconstitutional because it excludes visitors who subscribe to Islam.
"It's incumbent on us to make clear to the public that the core constitutional problem of religious discrimination remains," deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project Lee Gelernt told Rolling Stone.
"I think the public will see these tweaks for what they are: an attempt to do an end-run around the courts without really eliminating the constitutional problems."
Also in response to Trump's new travel ban directives, Amnesty International launched a call to action asking the public to tell Congress to act.
Saying that this new version is “just another attempt at a Muslim ban,” Amnesty International is asking America to unite behind this cause, telling Congress to put an end to the latest executive order issued by the president for “[b]anning people based on who they are, not what they've done.”
This continued refusal to allow immigrants and refugees from troubled countries in echoes American immigration policy during World War II, when the Jewish population of Germany found no safe harbor in America. Then, journalists like H. L. Mencken criticized the government for failing to do the only thing that could have effectively saved Europe's Jewish community:
“There is only one way to help the fugitives, and that is to find places for them in a country in which they can really live. Why shouldn’t the United States take in a couple hundred thousand of them, or even all of them?”
Why is America now turning its back on Muslim refugees, especially when the country's direct involvement in the Middle East has been one of the reasons why so many are fleeing their homes in the first place?
After all, if it wasn't for the United States' direct intervention in Libya — one of the countries listed in the new executive order — the country wouldn't have fallen into a civil war, forcing locals to flee. The same with Syria, a country engulfed by conflict partially because the United States has been strengthening al-Qaeda-linked rebels in the region.
This blind refusal to take our role in this mess seriously will go down in history as one of America's most shameful moments.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joe Penney