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Trump and the Travel Ban: Unintended Consequences

by Darron on March 1, 2017

It seems to me that whilst at its core America should be very robust about its security arrangements, there seems to be a disconnect between this goal and the unintended consequences if the policy is poorly executed. Whether you call it a Muslim ban or travel ban, the effect is the same; it sends a negative message to the world that America is banning entire nations from the US. America is banning grandparents and grandchildren, and totally innocent families are now being targeted as potential threats and families are being separated, so we can, according to President Trump, “figure out what the hell is going on”.

As an immigration law firm, we are getting a lot of calls from all around the world, like Australia and the UK, where these citizens have no connection whatsoever with the seven countries targeted by the President’s Executive Order wondering if they are going to have difficulties coming to the US for a holiday. Even though we tell them their country and citizenship is not affected, their concerns still persist, often saying, “If we’re not banned now, maybe we’re next”. Either way, many people are looking to visit countries other than the US for now. We’re losing their business, which means America is losing their tourism dollars.

When you look around the world as to where there are a lot of terrorist attacks, the countries that seem to be suffering a great deal are not countries named in the ban. So far we have Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, Libya, and Somalia. What about banning France and Belgium because of the Bataclan Theater shootings in Paris, the truck driver that drove into the crowds in Nice, France, and the suicide bombers that bombed the Brussels airport and train stations?

The perpetrators held European passports. Do you remember Richard Reid the British citizen who tried to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami by packing explosives in his shoes? What about Umar Abdulmutallab, aka the ‘underwear bomber’, who tried to blow up a plane heading to Michigan? So, should the travel ban include Brits and Nigerians? If we look to Pakistan and India they have numerous terrorist attacks, and ‘anyone’ can travel to the US from there. Finally, lest we forget 9/11 where 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, the others were from United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon; none of these countries are listed in the travel ban.

So, what’s my point? A travel ban is not the answer. No one from the travel ban countries has ever committed any act of terrorism in the US as far as publicized statistics show, and many attackers that have committed acts of terrorism in the US are US citizens, that is, people who have been radicalized online. How do we combat that?

The unintended consequences are – interest in traveling to America is down a whopping 17% since the initial travel ban was announced. So now hotel bookings are down, all aspects of tourism are down, and earnings for Americans are down. We lose and will keep losing as long as we create a hostile environment. Think about it, almost 1/3 of the world’s population is Muslim (1.8 billion), and they come from all over the world. We cannot ban them any more than we can ban Christians.

Meanwhile, Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims, (remember he originally called for a complete Muslim ban), alienates Muslims in and outside the US. Those Muslim’s living peaceably in the US now fear, are often threatened, and do experience discrimination and those young Muslims who already feel isolated become easier prey to radicalization. All this for a 90-day ban? Is it worth it?

America was founded by immigrants for immigrants and it became the most successful country in the world because the bravest of people from around the world sought to join together to form a more perfect union. We succeeded. Our strength is in our diversity, working together in pursuit of the American Dream.

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