By now, you’re likely all too familiar with the executive order President Donald Trump signed on Jan. 27, which banned people in seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, specifically — from entering the United States for 90 days.
Refugees outside of Syria were to be blocked for 120 days, and Syrian refugees were barred indefinitely.
In the time since, a hold has been temporarily placed on the order. This is thanks to Seattle-based United States District Court Judge James Robart, who issued a nationwide restraining order on the basis of Washington and Minnesota lawsuits, Politico reports.
The window between those federal actions, however, was riddled with chaos. That weekend, huge crowds gathered in major airports across the nation to protest the ban. The rallies took place in such cities as Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Boston, to name a few. Tensions mounted; Muslim-Americans were subject to verbal racist encounters and even extreme vandalism.
The world is still up in arms about the ban, which may or may not be resumed, and Trump’s authoritative approach to policy in general. A member of the British Parliament made public his intention to prohibit Trump from speaking upon his pending visit, in part because of his bigotry.
Trump, it seems, has a pattern of detachment from reality and is blind to the overt racism of his administration. For now, he’s still running on the illusion that the human embargo will make the country safer from domestic terrorist attacks until government representatives can “figure out what the hell is going on.” Only a third of Americans, however, think Trump’s measures will be effective in protecting the U.S., Reuters reports. Research shows it almost certainly won’t.
The most solid evidence we have so far comes from top-notch American officials, who wrote a joint affidavit fiercely opposing the immigration ban and imploring the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals not to resume the policy, reports NBC News. Among the co-authors are senior officials of the National Security Council, a former secretary of defense, a former secretary of homeland security, two former heads of the CIA, and two former secretaries of state — Avril Haines, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Lisa Monaco, Michael Morell, Madeleine Albright, Janet Napolitano, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta, and John McLaughlin, specifically.
Note that four of the brief’s 10 authors are up to date on intelligence, telling the court they were “current on active intelligence regarding all credible terrorist threat streams directed against the U.S.” as recently as one week prior to Trump’s executive action.
The officials believe the “ill-conceived, poorly implemented and ill-explained" ban could do long-term damage to the nation’s security and foreign policy concerns by putting at risk U.S. troops and intelligence agents on offshore turf.
“This order cannot be justified on national security or foreign policy grounds. It does not perform its declared task of ‘protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States,’” said the affidavit, which further defended policies put in place after the 9/11 attacks. “Since September 11, 2001, not a single terrorist attack in the United States has been perpetrated by aliens from the countries named in the order. Very few attacks on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001 have been traced to foreign nationals at all.”
Ultimately, the briefing argued that the ban facilitates ISIS propaganda by communicating to Muslims “that the U.S. government is at war with them based on their religion.”
Studies completed by the Washington Post back up this notion. In fact, the paper’s research on human perceptions and responses during the presidential primaries outlines just how greatly Trump’s policy could negatively impact and even endanger Americans.
The study measured participants’ dehumanization of both Muslims and Mexican immigrants by asking the respondents to place these marginalized groups on the “Ascent of Man” diagram, which displays human evolution. Additionally, the participants gave their opinions on stereotyped character traits of the groups, using word descriptors like “savage,” “unsophisticated,” “lacking in self-control,” and “primitive.”
“Suggesting the unique importance of dehumanization, these associations remained when we controlled for participants’ political conservatism and their dislike of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. We also observed that support for Trump as a candidate was more strongly linked to dehumanization of these groups than support for any of the other Republican candidates,” Washington Post authors Nour Kteily and Emile Bruneau wrote. “It wasn’t even close.”
Frighteningly, the repercussions of the terrible typecasts were made clear upon further research. In order to study the potential consequences, the Post polled Latino and Muslim residents in the U.S. by inquiring how dehumanized they felt by Trump, the Republican Party, and Americans.
The outcome doesn't look good:
“Our findings revealed that our samples of Latinos and Muslims felt heavily dehumanized, and that this had important consequences: The more dehumanized they felt, the more likely they were to support violent over nonviolent forms of collective protest, and the less likely they were to report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, potentially related to terrorism, to the FBI. Here again, these associations remained even after controlling for feelings of being disliked and for participants’ levels of political conservatism.”
It’s only a matter of time before we’re able to observe the definitive effects of the overtly discriminatory ban — which could, in plain truth, be detrimental — but for now, we wait with bated breath.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr, Masha George