One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s first official actions following his inauguration ceremony was to sign an executive order to bar citizens of seven Muslim-dominated countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. He also suspended the admission of all refugees into the country for 120 days. The barred countries are Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.
Take a look at Syria: perhaps there is no war-torn country on Earth more than Syria. The war has been going on for more than six years and about 400,000 people have died since the war started. This number includes innocent children and citizens who have nothing to do with the political issues tearing the country apart.
Yemen has also been war-torn. Hospitals and schools were bombed and the future of the country is dark because of the radical Muslims who took over most of the country. Iran has a high rate of unemployment. Iraq has been struggling to get back on its feet ever since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. People scavenge for food and clothes from the municipal garbage dump and most of the kids don’t attend school because there are no educational resources. Libya was once a great country and used to be one of the richest countries in Africa. Its citizens enjoyed the benefits of the country’s vast oil wealth, but ever since the leader was executed in 2011, it has not been the same. Libya has not seen a stable government since the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Isis has blended into the country and consequently they are now controlling some parts of the country.
Somalia has been a war-stricken country ever since I can remember. When I was growing up in Africa, all we knew about Somalia was that it was a very dangerous country to go visit and people were killed or kidnapped if they tried.
All of these countries have two major things in common: they are all Muslim dominated and they are all poverty stricken.
As an immigrant living in the United States, I have had an opportunity to experience both sides of the world. Just because one is from a Muslim-dominated country, it doesn’t make them a terrorist or a danger to society. Most of these people coming to seek refuge in America have good intentions, which is a better life and better future for their kids. President Trump overlooks the fact that we are all human beings and if he were to be put in the same shoes, he would be doing the same: trying to seek greener pastures.
His executive order also affects the immigrants who come here legally. The illegal immigrants who jump through the water and land from Mexico are not affected, yet those are the ones he should be focusing on. As an immigrant I work and pay taxes just like everyone and I’m legally registered in the system. I had to apply for a visa before I came here and I had to provide evidence to prove I wasn’t affiliated with a gang or terrorist group. These people being banned from entering the US include green card holders who have no criminal record and some of them have lived here for more than 20 years. President Trump is separating families. Some of these immigrants stuck on the other side of the world have children here who are U.S. citizens by birth and now they can’t visit their families. No man is an island and we as a nation need other countries for trade; and what he is doing is tearing apart relations with other countries. What makes it worse is some of these nations might retaliate against us and this will affect innocent citizens who have no political affiliations. Some world leaders have already reacted harshly to Trump’s executive order by suspending immigration and visas for U.S. citizens trying to visit or do business in other countries, mainly those with a majority of Muslim populations. Trump’s ideology is an egocentric, narcissistic idea that doesn’t work in this modern era.
Fungai Peta is a Communications Major from Zimbabwe, Africa