President Trump is expected to sign executive orders on immigration on Thursday, January 25. One order would block Syrian refugees from entering the United States and restricts visas from being issued to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The order would temporarily halt nearly all refugee admissions from everywhere in the world pending a review of State Department vetting procedures. A second order would authorize the building of the oft-promised Border Wall along the Mexican border and increases immigration enforcement actions. A copy of this executive order was leaked to the press.
The restrictions on issuing visas to the seven predominantly Muslim countries would go into effect immediately and cover both immigrants and those coming to the United States as tourists, students, etc. The order will include a halt in letting them in is described as temporary for thirty days, but the order also allows for extensions at the end of the thirty days.
This prohibition on admitting legal immigrants applies even to permanent residents who may have returned to their home countries to visit family and conduct business. Presumably, these people will be stranded indefinitely overseas.
The order will also require the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review admissions from other countries outside of the white-majority countries of Western Europe. After this review, additional countries may be placed on the banned list.
The president’s executive order will also direct the suspension of all refugee admissions from everywhere in the world for four months. The process for refugee admissions would then be reopened, but only for those countries where the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence have jointly certified the safety of accepting refugees from the country in question.
The president will also cut the number of refugees to be admitted next year. Typically 100,000 refugees are allowed into the country every year, but Trump will decrease that number to only 50,000.
If signed, the president’s actions against Muslims and refugees are unprecedented in modern history. This sort of targeting of refugees and immigrants by race or religion did, of course, occur in the racist 19th Century when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to maintain white supremacy in the United States. Other race-based restrictions on non-white immigration were also enacted during the ascendancy of the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1900s. However, the depredations wrought by Nazi race policies led to a reexamination of these exclusions and a lifting of them began in 1942. Since then, the United States has progressively worked towards making our immigration policy more and more racially neutral.
Earlier restrictions were manifestations of our country’s deep-seated racial prejudices. They were an embarrassment to our country and were used by our enemies to depict the United States as a white supremacist country. President John F. Kennedy was quick to identify the remaining discriminatory immigration laws as an impediment to building a coalition against Russia and urged their removal. Since 1965, explicitly racist restrictions are no more.
The anti-Muslim actions the president will potentially take are a disgrace and, if signed, must be opposed by every American who values religious freedom.
Church World Service urges everyone to take immediate action to protest against President Trump’s attack on Muslims. Here are some things you can do:
PLEASE DO THESE THINGS IMMEDIATELY:
- Tweet @realDonaldTrump & @POTUS – Samples (please personalize):
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS Don’t stop welcoming refugees. Resettlement demonstrates the best of our values #RefugeesWelcome
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS Keep America welcoming. Refugee resettlement is a proud American legacy with bipartisan support #RefugeesWelcome
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS People of faith OPPOSE a religious litmus test for refugees bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees hias.org/1500rabbis #RefugeesWelcome
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS Denying Muslim refugees safety is an affront to religious liberty #RefugeesWelcome bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees hias.org/1500rabbis.
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS More than 800 faith leaders are opposed to any policy that would keep Muslim refugees from seeking safety: bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees
@realDonaldTrump & @POTUS Christians oppose policies that would deny Muslims refuge and preference Christians bit.ly/FaithLeaders4ALLRefugees
- Send the White House a Facebook message at Facebook.com/WhiteHouse AND submit an electronic message at whitehouse.gov/contact using these samples as a guide:
President Trump, We are hearing that you will stop refugee resettlement based on someone’s nationality or religion. I am STRONGLY opposed to any policy change that would deny access to refugees based on their religion or nationality. Please reject such ideas, as a religious litmus test for safety is an affront to religious liberty.