Religious Discrimination

Jan. 30, 2017 –  Ian Lustick, professor of comparative politics and political science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Trapped in the War on Terror,” told On Point host Tom Ashbrook Monday that President Trump’s executive order concerning banning immigration from seven specific countries as “stupid.”

My biggest concern is that this is a ban specifically identifying Muslim immigrants and refugees attempting to come to the United States. The executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist entry into the United States,” specifically list seven predominately Muslim nations; Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.

The order continues, “…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 of nationality.”

Though the President stated that his order is not focused on Muslims, he specifically told the Christian Broadcasting Network that “persecuted Christians will be given priority over other refugees seeking to enter the United States, saying they have been ‘horribly treated.'”

According to The Washington Post, the order would also bar those “U.S. legal residents from the named countries — green-card holders — who happened to be abroad when it was signed.”

The Pew Center reports that nearly 99 percent of the Syrian refugees were of the Muslim faith with less than 1 percent being Christian. This order seemingly would also preclude minority Muslim sects, Jews, secular humanists and other religious groups that may be found in these seven “offending” nations.

It must also be noted the countries not on the President’s list; countries with which either Trump has business dealings or are rich in oil reserves or political interests, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emeritus and Egypt.

It currently takes 12 to 18 months from an individual to complete the current vetting process which does not discriminate based on religious affiliation. Any delay in “vetting” of immigrants and refugees will result in undue harm to those waiting for entry beyond the current limitations.

The federal courts have put a temporary stay of the President’s orders until such time when the entire court could hear the cases being brought by a number of individuals and groups concerning the ban on immigration. In retaliation, the White House website has taken down that portion which would lead the reader to the judicial branch of the government.

The American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero stated:

“Extreme vetting” is just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims. Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment.”

I agree with the statement made by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D – NY), who said that the president’s “misguided executive orders because they are bad for America, bad for our national security, bad for the humanitarian nature that America has always been.” He continued to call the executive order “mean-spirited and un-American.”

As others have said, the executive order seemingly violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, prohibiting the making of laws “respecting an establishment of religion…” This order establishes, by the President’s own words, special privileges for Christians.

I urge you to write the President and demand the rescinding of the executive order that bans the immigration of refugees and new immigrants into the United States.

President Donald Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.  20500

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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