The president’s executive order is a shocking reversal of American values.
On Friday, President Donald Trump enacted harsh restrictions on immigration and refugee intake via executive order.
Titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” the executive order has the effect of placing a hold on the U.S. refugee program and restricts travel from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The order also stipulates that of the refugees who are let into the country, Christians will be prioritized over Muslims.
Within hours of the order’s signing, its effects became clear. At major U.S. airports around the country, more than two dozen individuals covered by the newly implemented restrictions were detained upon arrival. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the order would also have the effect of banning green card holders from seven countries from re-entering the U.S. In all, the order could block up to 500,000 legal U.S. residents from exiting and re-entering the country.
Though the administration has insisted this is not a “Muslim ban,” Muslims will be disproportionately affected by Trump’s actions. In December 2015, then-candidate Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” For what it’s worth, Michael Flynn Jr., son of Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, celebrated the order on Twitter as a “Muslim ban.”
Banning people on the basis of where they’re from or what their religion is, is quintessentially un-American. It’s a slap in the face to the men and women who founded this country on a principle of religious liberty, and it’s a show of disrespect for the men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our national ideals at home and abroad.
Since the order was signed, people have taken to the streets in protests, donated to causes dedicated to ensuring the safety and rights of immigrants and refugees, and legal challenges have already begun to work their way through the courts, with stays reportedly being issued Saturday evening to halt any immediate deportations.
The fight on this is just beginning. Here are five things you can do right now to help:
1. Donate to causes supporting legal challenges to the order.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the Trump administration, arguing that his executive order is unconstitutional.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit along with the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, and the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.
2. Join a protest.
As news of the challenges facing the detained travelers emerged, protesters began showing up at the affected airports with a simple message: This is not who we are.
ThinkProgress has a running list of upcoming protests against the ban.
3. Donate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In the lead-up to last year’s election, anti-Muslim sentiment seemed to be on the rise. In the months since, documented instances of Islamophobic attacks and hate crimes have seen a spike. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a civil rights advocacy organization that works to resolve instances of anti-Muslim discrimination through mediation, negotiation, public pressure, and legal action.
On Twitter, musician Grimes offered to match donations to CAIR up to $10,000.
4. Call your lawmakers.
Where do your politicians stand on Trump’s executive order? Have they released any sort of statement? Either way, it’s a great chance to reach out to their offices. Representatives and senators cannot single-handedly undo an executive order, but they can put pressure on the administration to roll back the changes.
A number of lawmakers from both parties have spoken out against the order on social media. Even if your representatives have taken a stand against the order, you can call to say thanks.
5. Speak out, speak up, and let it be known that this is not who America is.
No matter how we voted in November, we are all a part of the same country — and that country should be a welcome home for all.
To paraphrase Emma Lazarus: We should aim to be a welcoming home to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the homeless, and the tempest-tossed. That’s the America we should aspire to be.
So tell your friends, tell your families, share messages of support on social media. We don’t need to fear the unknown. In fact, the odds of an American dying as the result of an act of terrorism carried out by a refugee is a minuscule 1 in 3.64 billion in any given year.