Discrimination is not defense

Katarina Harrison, Staff Reporter

On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump issued a vile, discriminatory executive order that, among other things, blocks travelers from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States. This policy not only unjustly discriminates against people of certain faiths and origins, but also has caused a violent and divisive reaction within the country that is tearing apart our national pride and unity.

The ban targets the seven Muslim majority countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and does not allow visitors or immigrants from any of them, regardless of legality.

We can see our nation begin to crumble with every newscast showing a protest. The protests themselves are a beautiful example of people fighting for what is right, but the mere need for them is extremely disturbing. The government’s job is to unify us, not to divide us in the way Trump’s travel ban has done. Trump has been eager to ban Muslims from day one, a sentiment he made abundantly clear throughout his campaign. Now that he holds office, Trump has wasted no time in enacting that ban, and in the process, creating the protest ridden, divided country we see today.

The reason behind the protests is clear. People are stepping up to defend those who do not have the numbers to defend themselves. The consequences of the Travel Ban have been immediate and immense.  About 90,000 people have been affected in some way by this ban, and even more will be until it ends. People who worked to get visas and passports to enter the United States are being denied. Friends and family of American-citizens are being barred from entering the country due to nothing more than their national origin. As a nation, we’ve been working to end discrimination based on race, ethnicity and national origin, but Trump’s travel ban not only encourages discrimination against those from the middle east, it turns it into a law. What kind of message does that send to other minorities within the country?

The impact isn’t only social. The ban has had strong effects on the economy as well, especially the tourism industry.  Searches for international flights to the United States have dropped 17 percent since the announcement of the travel ban. Living in Florida, a state that is extremely dependent on tourism, this should be extremely disturbing.

The negative consequences that this ban has spawned are all being justified by the idea that it will protect the American people, but it is unlikely to be very successful at that either. Terrorists do not come from a shortlist of seven countries. Terrorists can come from anywhere, including within the United States, and assuming that banning travel from seven countries will protect citizens is as dangerous as it is narrow-minded.

Trump’s travel ban, aside from being impulsive, discriminatory, and divisive, is likely to completely fail at its intended goal. The results have been dangerously dramatic and will only get worse. The Trump administration needs to realize their mistake, and start taking steps to restore our nation to a state of unity.