By Nisha Desai, Opinion Writer
“This is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” President Donald Trump said in a statement released by the White House. “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”
The Muslim-majority countries listed under this order include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The order, signed on Jan. 27, temporarily halted refugees from entering the U.S., blocked new visas for people from these countries, and even prevented green card holders, who are legal residents, from boarding U.S.-bound flights.
Trump said that this temporary ban, lasting 120 days, will help prevent terrorists from entering the country. According to NPR, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates are not listed in the ban.
According to ProPublica, Section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that the president has the authority to suspend the entry of a non-citizen whom the president thinks poses a threat to the nation.
While the act allows the president to enact specific measures, it does not allow our leader to violate the laws put in place by the Constitution that prevent discrimination on the basis of religion and maintain that the states guarantee equal protection of law to all.
Trump has the right and power to execute such an order, but he should not have the right to legally mandate racism.
He should not have the power to persecute those who have been wrongly persecuted.He should not have the power to violate American values – based on freedom, equality and hope.
Yet, what I’ve seen in these past weeks is our president waging a war against the very foundation this nation was built on. The laws outline American values and over time have allowed us as citizens of this nation to fight for those rights and for the rights of others.
The U.S. was built on the idea that we are a nation of immigrants, people of different ethnicities and religions, but who all live together in the nation of the “free.” Free from oppression. Free from unjust persecution. Free from religious discrimination.
I am not denying that injustices do occur in this nation, but that does not mean that we, the people, should allow it, even if it is the President of the U.S. who spreads it.
Since Trump signed the order, mass protests have erupted. People gathered at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and other places andsigns were held, lawyers gathered to represent detainees, and many openly prayed.
These protests extended to people gathering outside of Trump-affiliated establishments and in cities across the nation. Protesters did not just include Muslim-Americans. When I look at pictures and videos of these protests, I see diversity rooting for equality.
So, united we must stand against injustice. United we must stand to maintain an integral part of what makes us American. United we must stand so that those who seek a home in our land have hope and do not fear us.
For the 140 Somali refugees whose resettlement in the U.S. was stopped by the order and have been sent back to the refugee camp – I do not see their voices and rights being protected by our leader.
For the immigrant family who sought to set up a home and find a job to support their children, but was rejected – I do not see this nation’s values being exerted by our leader to protect them.
For those who have been persecuted and have done nothing wrong – I do not see how they are being protected like those who have been protected by our country in the past by our leader now.
Weeks after the travel ban was signed, the Justice Department said it will not fight for the executive order which was struck down by a federal court. According to CNN, the president will now file a revised travel ban in response.
It is through these nationwide protests and actions by judges, lawyers, and officials against this “Muslim ban” that I see our nation more unified. While there is chaos, there is also a sense of unity in presented in this single truth: we are a nation of immigrants.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 21st print edition.
Contact Nisha Desai at