A Nation Caught in an Immigration War
The new Trump administration has made restricting immigration a forefront policy objective, and some of their policies have been challenged by people across the country.
The U.S. has forever been a place where immigrants come to start a new life, gain an education and even start a new family. Immigrants have sought refuge not just within the borders of the U.S. but also within the embracing comfort of those who accept them. However, throughout its history, the U.S. has had a pattern of not letting people enter this country for a large spectrum of reasons. At this moment, the status of immigration is very vague and ever-changing due to recent actions on immigration by the Trump administration, including what some have called a “Muslim ban.”
“It is very disheartening,” sophomore Eve Abuazza, whose father immigrated from Libya, said in regards to President Trump’s actions on Muslim immigration. “My family is very upset that this new president is so close-minded. He is blindly seeing ‘the vast majority’ as harmful people. Many people from those nations are looking to escape and new opportunities. I understand safety, but those people also want safety.”
Last month, the Trump administration also announced its plans about illegal immigration. The new actions that the president announced are not a change in law, but an increase in enforcement of the current law. The working theory of congressional Republicans is that increased border enforcement results in a discouragement to enter the U.S. illegally.
This stance differs from both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who sought for stricter border policies while balancing the humanitarian needs of immigrants. Under past presidents, people residing in the U.S. without legal permission were not usually deported unless they committed a crime, but now, under Trump, these people are always able to be deported at anytime, and will be sought out to be deported. Trump has described this force to be of a military nature. The new measures do not attack the DREAMers initiative created under Obama that did not punish children of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
Furthermore, in order to increase the security of the nation, the Trump administration tried to decrease the ability of immigrants to travel to the U.S. from certain countries. To do this, on Jan. 27 Trump signed an executive order that banned immigration for a period of time from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries: Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Somalia.
“It is completely overboard,” attorney Contessa Brundridge said. “It applies to lawful permanent residents and those with visas. It is unconstitutional on this basis, and it is a restriction of due process. It also shows a religious preference, which presents an interesting argument of religious discrimination.”
Many people pride themselves on being American after immigrating to the U.S., including Eve’s father, who immigrated to the U.S. from Libya.
“He told me about how coming here, he felt welcomed here, but he was just worried of failing,” Abuazza said. “He knew three words in English before coming here. He was interested in learning new things and starting a new life. He was more excited about that than afraid.”
After an increasing number of protests nationwide and legal challenges to the executive order, multiple courts struck down the ban within the weekend. There was a protest at Lambert St. Louis International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 29 where people from the St. Louis area gathered to stand in solidarity with those affected by the actions of the Trump administration.