Trump's order on refugees dangerous

US President Donald Trump’s executive order indefinitely suspending the resettlement programme for Syrian refugees and temporarily banning people of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US is callous, illegal and dangerous. By suspending the resettlement programme, America has slammed its doors on thousands of Syrians who are fleeing a war-ravaged country. In doing so, the US is breaching international refugee conventions. It is violating a refugee’s right to non-refoulement or not to be sent back to a country where they risk facing violence or persecution. Among the refugees being kept out by the Trump order are people who worked with the US troops, providing them vital support by acting as translators and guides. Their lives being under threat back home thanks to the help they gave Americans, President Barack Obama had promised them asylum in the US. They have valid papers for entering the US and were pinning their hopes on a safe home there. But the Trump administration has cruelly abandoned them. The US President apparently feels no sense of obligation of responsibility for them.

Nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have been temporarily banned from entering the US under the new rules. It is obvious that extreme prejudice against Muslims and their stereotyping as terrorists underlies the choice of countries. Trump has claimed that people from these countries are a national security concern for the US. Not only is he branding the people of an entire country as a threat but also he is factually incorrect. None of the perpetrators of any major attack in the US since 9/11 have come from these countries. There is a view that if it is to keep out people from countries whose nationals were involved in terror attacks in the US, Trump should be banning people from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Trump’s order may not go to make the US safer. On the contrary, it will make the US vulnerable to attacks and retaliatory action. The US’ relations with other countries, including its traditional allies will be adversely impacted. It will undermine America’s stature as a country that has historically provided a home to those fleeing persecution. If Trump is indeed genuinely committed to the security of Americans, he should act to halt easy access to guns. After all, more Americans die due to gun homicides annually than attacks by foreign terrorists, who came to the country as asylum seekers. It is evident that it is not security concerns but politics that is driving the Trump administration’s agenda. His executive order has deepened the political divide in the US and is fuelling racist discourse and xenophobia. America must resist this unconscionable and dangerous order.
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