New US Travel Ban

On Thursday night, the US partly restored the so-called Muslim travel ban against citizens from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, which imposes a 90-day ban on citizens from these countries and 120 days for refugees.

Legally permanent residents, current visa holders, visa applicants who were in the US as of June 26, dual nationals, anyone that has been granted asylum, refugees who have already been admitted to the US and foreign nationals with “close” family, educational or business ties to the US will be exempt from the ban. However, refugees currently awaiting approval for admission to the country will be banned.

The new executive order considers “close” family to be a spouse, child, son or daughter of age, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and siblings. However, it excludes fiancées, grandparents and grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, which had until now been considered “close” family.

The Supreme Court garnered the green light to the Trump administration to reinstate part of the travel ban on Monday and said that it would make a final ruling on the executive order in October.

The first Muslim travel ban had been halted in the lower court for months after it caused massive protests and chaos at all international airports across the entire country, which resulted in the illegal retention of thousands of US legal residents who were born in any of the aforementioned banned countries.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell University said the wording of the decision left the upholders of this law plenty of room for interpretation in terms of enforcement.

How individuals will prove such a [bona fide] relationship, and whether the burden of proof will be on the government or the individuals seeking entry, remains to be seen,” Yale-Loehr said. I predict chaos at the border and new lawsuits, as foreign nationals and refugees argue that they are entitled to enter the United States.”

The prediction of more discord at airports was mirrored by Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang.

Rather than keeping anyone safe,” Huang said, “this ban demonizes millions of innocent people and creates anxiety and instability for people who want to visit a relative, work, study, return to the country they call home, or just travel without fear.”

Several experts have suggested that the fact that those people who have been working with the US in its secret operations in the fight against ISIL will also be banned is very worrisome. And it also endangers their lives.

Furthermore, a travel ban which will not allow grandparents to meet their grandchildren in the US will be catastrophic for many families. However, the worst part of it will be for those refugees who are trying to flee from certain death in their countries to the US. They will now have to face threats, torture, abuse, and death.

Most of the population of the US opposes to what they think it is an unfair Muslim travel ban, which will cause suffering to thousands of families, and which could backfire in the form of terrorism.

Although it is still too soon to know the real impact of the new travel ban on people’s lives, numerous human rights organizations think that this one will be more chaotic than the previous one.

Awaiting the final decision of the Supreme Court in October, human rights organizations and NGO’s will keep fighting against every Muslim travel ban in order to guarantee people’s human rights.

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Consequences of Hate-Filled Political Rhetoric and Illegal Military Interventions

In recent years, the number of terrorist attacks and hate crimes in western countries has risen to levels never seen before, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens. Recent studies suggest that there are clear connections between terrorism, illegal military interventions in the Middle East, and those politicians who regularly use hateful rhetoric against immigrants.

This has been more evident in the UK, which has suffered four terrorist attacks in just four months, the latest against the Muslim community only a week ago. In the aftermath of those attacks, the number of hate crimes increased fivefold in London and 530% in Manchester, according to the Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).

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Source: The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime, Home Office. 12 months to March in year shown

A Met police spokesperson said that the number of hate crimes against Muslims had increased sharply in the last four years. They recorded 343 incidents in 2013, 1009 in the year before March 2016, and 1260 in the year prior to March of 2017.

Last year, the UN the body Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination argued that the continuous anti-immigration rhetoric used by British politicians during, and after the Brexit campaign, resulted in a significant increase in the number of hate crimes and in the potential radicalization of several individuals.

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The committee reported that more than 3,000 allegations of hate crimes were made to UK police in the week before and the week after the Brexit vote, an increase of 42% over the two corresponding weeks in the year before. It also pointed out that numerous politicians and journalists regularly fail to condemn hate crimes against ethnic minority groups.

The UK military interventions in the Middle East have not seemed to help reduce the level of terrorism. Instead, they have served as a platform for ISIS to carry out its massive proselytizing, especially to those vulnerable people who often feel discriminated against by society.

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn recently said, “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought against other countries and terrorism here at home.”

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions. But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people and will fight rather than fuel terrorism.”

 

It seems clear that explicit support for an illegal war overseas often backfires with unpredictable consequences. And then that action, far from reducing terrorism, boosts it.

Rhetoric that is hostile to an ethnic group, including locals, or any action that could be understood as hostile by them, will do nothing but feed their perception that they will always be targeted, resulting in the radicalization of numerous individuals.

Numerous right-wing politicians and journalists remind us how the constant discrimination against ethnic minorities fuels terrorism, resulting in the backlash which the enormous tragedies previously mentioned represent.

To believe that Islamist terrorism is going to be eradicated anytime soon would be very naive. However, western governments could easily reduce the number of terrorist incidents in their respective territories by ending their hate rhetoric against immigrants and by building bridges between communities.

Tolerance is the key to reducing tensions and solving the existing problem. Although there are many distinct communities in the world, and each one has its own peculiarities and customs, all of them have things in common, and most importantly they are all made up of human beings.

For that reason, it is important to emphasize those common points and downplay the differences that set those community apart.  Even though this may sound utopic, it is crucial to remember that people and people alone determine what is real and what is not. By persuading governments of the importance of leaving their hateful rhetoric aside while showing the importance of building bridges between communities, global society will move a step closer to achieving unity and getting away from division once and for all.

 

Trump’s New Travel Ban Order

Yesterday, President Trump signed a new executive order banning citizens from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the U.S. It comes 6 weeks after the first caused chaos at airports all across the country before being blocked by a federal judge.

During this time, the government has made several modifications to make it legal. As a result, it will now impose a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas to people from the previously mentioned countries, and will suspend the U.S. refugee program for 120 days. However, this time citizens who are legal U.S. permanent residents and have valid visas to enter the U.S. will be exempt from the ban.

“We cannot compromise our nation’s security by allowing visitors entry when their own governments are unable or unwilling to provide the information we need to vet them responsibly, or when those governments actively support terrorism,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday.

The government has also announced:

“The new ban will not be implemented until March 16 to avoid the chaos experienced with the previous one.”

The new executive order will exclude Iraq from the blacklisted countries due to they role fighting terrorism and their willingness to increase control over citizens who travel to the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said:

Iraq’s removal from the list came after the Iraqi government communicated to the U.S. that it is willing to collaborate and increase control over citizens who intend to travel to the U.S.,”

“The United States welcomes this kind of close cooperation,” “This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and our allies.”

Members of Congress also reacted to the revised ban, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, who said that it “advances our shared goal of protecting the homeland.” Democratic leaders, however, said that it’s still a ban.

“A watered-down ban is still a ban. Despite the Administration’s changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American. It must be repealed,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, in a statement.

 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement:

“The Trump administration’s repackaging has done nothing to change the immoral, unconstitutional and dangerous goals of their Muslim and refugee ban. This is the same ban, with the same purpose, driven by the same dangerous discrimination that weakens our ability to fight terror.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that they will bring the new ban to court to block it as soon as possible because it still discriminates and targets Muslims.

“We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban,” said an ACLU representative.

In addition, the president also signed presidential memoranda that will direct the executive branch to take immediate steps to implement enhanced vetting procedures. The administration is considering implementing a new biometric entry-exit system and directing that additional interviews be conducted for visa applicants.

According to the U.S. government, both the new executive order and the memorandum will be implemented for security issues. Attorney General Jeff Sessions added:

“The FBI is currently investigating 300 immigrants from the banned countries who have ties to terrorism.”

However, once again, the U.S. government did not show clear evidence to verify whether or not it is true.

There is a growing concern that the new executive order will help terrorist organizations to maintain their anti-western rhetoric and recruit thousands of new members.

The new executive order will also criminalize millions of innocent civilians from the 6 banned countries. Some of them have been waiting for years to flee to the U.S., but now, overnight, their dream has been dissipated and now, they will have to continue living under harsh conditions, facing death every day.

The criminalization of civilians and refugees is absurd and hypocritical. The vast majority of refugees did not choose to become refugees. Instead, this was imposed on them due to conflicts often started by the U.S. and its allies. They deserve more respect from President Trump. They have already suffered enough.

Over the next few weeks, a new legal battle will start between the government and those organizations that think the new ban is as illegal as the original. As with the first executive order, judges from different courts will have the last word.

Until they make a decision, millions of people from all over the world will be concerned, knowing that the final decision will determine their future and security.