Trump bans refugees, singles out Muslims
On Friday, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camps, President Donald J. Trump signed executive orders closing the country’s borders to refugees and blocking men, women and children escaping the carnage in Syria from finding safety in the United States.
His order also temporarily suspended immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
Many Jewish organizations reacted swiftly to condemn the orders, which echoed 20th century laws that barred Jews seeking refuge from aazi Germany. Many of those turned away were murdered in the concentration camps.
In a press release, the non-partisan American Jewish said it views with, “profound concern the Trump Administration’s plans to pose unjustified new obstacles in the path of refugees and asylum seekers.”
Trump called his actions part of the “extreme vetting” of potential Islamic terrorists that he promised on the campaign.
At the same time, Trump ordered that Christians and other non-Muslims from these same countries be granted priority over Muslims.
“We don’t want them here,” Mr. Trump said of Islamist terrorists during a signing ceremony at the Pentagon. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”
The executive order suspends the entry of refugees into the United States for 120 days and directs officials to determine additional screening ”to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Numerous critics of the move took to Twitter to point out that the majority of perpetrators of the most serious terrorist attack on American soil, on 9/11, came from Saudi Arabia, which is not one of the countries listed.
In its rare, strongly worded response to Trump’s ban, the AJC pointed out that, “refugees from Syria, Iraq and other states in violent upheaval are already laboriously and intrusively vetted by U.S. immigration authorities, assisted by U.S. intelligence agencies, in cooperation with other nations’ intelligence services. For those approved, it generally takes 18 to 24 months to gain U.S. admission.”
“The terrorist threat attributed to refugees is a cruel and distracting fiction,” the AJC said, “especially when viewed against the actual incidence of mass violence committed with chilling frequency – in schools, churches, shopping malls and other venues – against Americans by Americans. In the 14 years ending in October 2015, a period in which 784,000 refugees were resettled in the United States, there were exactly three arrests for planning terrorist activities (none of which occurred).”