Trump's Racist Muslim Ban Is 'Even Worse Than Imagined'
In less than a week, Donald Trump has dispelled the notion that he shouldn't be taken literally. The far-right president has already moved to implement the racist, anti-Muslim policies upon which he campaigned. Groups that advocate for the rights of Americans of Middle Eastern descent warn that his administration's ban on refugees and migrants is "even worse than imagined."
Documents obtained by media outlets show that Trump is implementing an executive order that will block refugees from resettling in the U.S. People from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran will also be barred from entering the country, even if they have valid visas. (The U.S. is currently bombing five of the countries from which the Trump administration is banning nationals, and it has fueled political instability in the other two. Millions of refugees are fleeing violent conflicts the U.S. has instigated.)
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee noted that the order will furthermore implement a so-called values test for future visa applicants. The group describes this as an "ideology test" that will ask about an applicant's religious beliefs. Joanne Lim, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, cautioned that the wording could be used to block critics of U.S. government policies, thereby violating the First Amendment.
The executive order will divide families, ruin careers and destroy lives. It will likely even extend to spouses of U.S. citizens born in one of the blacklisted countries.
The political wing of the National Iranian American Council, which advocates for civil rights and peace, came out forcefully against the order.
“Trump’s Muslim ban is real and even more draconian than many anticipated," NIAC Action said in a statement. "Visa holders, dual nationals, and even green card holders from Muslim-majority countries may be barred indefinitely from the United States."
"The order is written in such a broad manner that it may also prohibit dual nationals of those countries who are citizens of non-targeted countries from entering the U.S. on a visa," the group warned.
The executive order could even be interpreted to prevent U.S. permanent residents who are outside the country from re-entering.
“We in the Iranian-American community are already feeling the effects of this proposed action," NIAC Action wrote. "Plans for family to visit, for loved ones to return home, for family friends to join us to study in U.S. schools, are now in jeopardy. There is a palpable feeling of being torn apart from our friends and loved ones."
An Iranian-American on the verge of completing his studies in an advanced graduate program told AlterNet that his uncle, a science professor in Iran, had planned on coming to his graduation, but now will be unable to attend.
"We are not even sure if parents will be able to attend weddings in the U.S. or if we need to put travel plans abroad on hold for fear of being blocked from coming back," NIAC Action said, condemning the U.S. government's "dangerous course of action."
Political commentator Roozbeh Aliabadi lashed out at Trump on Twitter for banning his fiancÃ©e from entering the U.S., thereby delaying their wedding. "Our love will be stronger than your ban," he tweeted.
Thank u @realDonaldTrump 4 banning my wife to enter the #US & delay our wedding. Our love will be stronger than you… https://t.co/HuOMEvtV65— Roozbeh Aliabadi (@Roozbeh Aliabadi) 1485387555.0
In its current form, the executive order will implement a ban for 30 days. It is likely, however, that the ban will be extended and become permanent for at least some of the blacklisted countries. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee pointed out that the order will likewise leave an option to add more countries from which people could be banned at a later date.
The ADC advised students from blacklisted countries not to leave the U.S. during the time their visa is valid, as they will not be permitted to return. People who have valid visas but have not yet entered the U.S. will not be allowed to do so; their visas will be void under the new order.
The ADC noted that its legal department offers pro bono services for those who may be affected.
NIAC Action recalled that in 2015, when a discriminatory anti-Muslim bill was introduced in the House, it warned of a "slippery slope." Now, the group added, we are "on the way to a much darker vision of America than many of us could have imagined."