President Trump’s discriminatory “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry” Executive Order
President Trump signed an Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry” which prohibits refugees from any country from entering the United States for the next 120 days, Syrian refugees from the entering indefinitely as well as an immediate 90-day suspension of issuing visas to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The Executive Order allows exceptions to the new restrictions for people with religious persecution claims if they are part of a religious minority.
Although the Executive Order doesn’t explicitly ban Muslims, it is clear that the Order targets Muslims with the seven countries listed all being Muslim majority countries. The Order is seen as a follow up to President Trump’s campaign promise to have “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Rudolph Giuliani, an adviser to the Trump campaign, said this past Saturday that he had helped modify the President’s campaign proposal to temporarily bar Muslims into the current Order as “the right way to do it legally.”
Many experts believe that the Order breaches both federal and constitutional law. The United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, which is incorporated into United States law, prohibits discrimination against refugees on the basis of religion. The Immigration and Nationality Act also prohibits such discrimination in the issuance of visas. There is also the additional constitutional argument that the new Executive Oder violates the constitutional right to Freedom of Religion as protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Cécile Kyenge, Co-President of ARDI, said: “When a government decides to enact prejudice and discrimination into law, it gives license to citizen’s engage in bigotry and hate. Hate crimes are clearly connected to and affected by political leadership. We should carefully monitor developments in the United States and speak out to ensure that vulnerable groups such as Muslims, African American, Hispanics, women and LGBTI are protected.”
Gérard Deprez, Co-President of ARDI, said: “The fight against terrorism is an absolute necessity but in any way it does not justify widespread suspicion against persons according to their country of origin, belief or religion. We, as Europeans, we cannot close our eyes to what is happening in the United States. I therefore express my deep concern about the Executive Order and I hope that European leaders and the European Commission will not remain spectators, that we will not confine ourselves in an embarrassed silence and that we will react, in particular to defend EU citizens who will no longer be able to travel to the United States because of their dual nationality. It is also our duty to do everything we can to ensure respect for the Geneva Convention with regard to the rights of refugees.”