“We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain: give up your dreams of freedom, because to save our own skins, we’re willing to make a deal with your slave masters.” – Ronald Reagan, 1964
Today, we face a different enemy, with different victims and a different immorality. The principle, however, remains the same. While the College Republicans support this administration’s efforts to ensure the safety of its citizens, we cannot support the implementation of these goals.
The College Republicans stand with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). We stand with all who have been personally targeted by this executive order. We stand with Ronald Reagan, who six decades ago affirmed the American responsibility to never let fear dictate policy.
The executive order is comprised of three controversial policies. The first, the refugee moratorium, is by far the most acceptable. To ensure that the Kentucky terror plot (when al-Qaeda bomb-makers — who had previously attacked American soldiers — were discovered posing as refugees in the United States) never repeats itself, we consider comprehensive vetting to be of the utmost importance. A temporary disruption of refugee admissions to ensure said vetting process has historical precedence, most recently in Obama’s significant cutback of Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011. We are not, however, fully convinced that national security necessitates a complete shutdown of refugee admissions.
We appreciate that during the 120-day ban, refugees may be admitted on a case-by-case basis, but only as long as their admission “is in the national interest.” Showing a similar emphasis, the order bans Syrian refugees indefinitely, viewing them as “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” We staunchly oppose the executive order’s narrow focus. The United States must look first and foremost to its national interest. But as a superpower, America has an obligation to look beyond itself. We help to the extent that we can, because we can.
Secondly, the order promises to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country.” At best, this stipulation represents willful ignorance. In ISIS controlled territory, Christians are viciously persecuted. But so are Muslims. A militant Sunni force, ISIS has enacted a genocide of Shia Muslims. Islam, however, is not the minority religion; in Iraq, the Shias are not even a minority branch. The executive order does not protect these victims of religious genocide. While we commend the administration’s efforts to protect the persecuted, the order does not adequately do so. A similar stipulation against racial discrimination would not have defended blacks during the South African apartheid.
Admittedly, Bashar al-Assad’s heinous war crimes do not discriminate on the basis of religion — Christians and Muslims are murdered alike. But if the administration insists on prioritizing claims of religious persecution, we urge them to amend the executive order to include all victims, even those of a majority religion.
Finally, the executive order cancelled all immigration for 90 days from seven countries marked by the previous administration. While we applaud the administration’s steps to amend the order to allow admittance to green card holders, we encourage them to further improve by allowing entrance to those with student visas, travel visas, work and H1B visas and more. Since its founding, this country has represented the hope of open arms for every determined worker the world over. It is the hope of the shining city on a hill, offering endless opportunity to all who work for it, from every race, religion or creed. This hope is as appealing as it is impossible. But when we issue a visa, this hope becomes a concrete promise to families and individuals determined enough to wait out the legal process. With this executive order, the administration turned their backs on the formal promises this country made. In the words of George W. Bush, “this is not the America I know.” The executive order claimed that its purpose was to ensure that those who enter this country respect “its founding principles.” President Trump should hold himself to the same standard.
MICHAEL BOGDANOS is a College freshman and a co-chair of the College Republicans Editorial Board.
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