ART BY SHIRLEEN KWONG
By CAROL LI
Despite its long withstanding, there is an issue plaguing American political ideology: hypocrisy–namely, the despotism regarding foreign affairs.
The issue at hand is the intersection of America being founded by immigrants and the administration passing anti-immigration legislation. Our country is supposedly built on the principles of freedom, on a basis where adversity does not stand in our way of fantastic dreams and longing aspirations. We are the land of diversity, a melting pot of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, all contributing to the varying face of our nation.
This new restriction prevents citizens from Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan to apply for visas. However, they are still permitted to visit the country for other purposes, including tourism, business, and medical reasons. To justify their actions, government officials stated that these countries have not complied with U.S security measures.
Furthermore, the obvious focus on African and Southeast countries speak louder than Trump’s reassuring claims. Nigeria is the United States’ second-largest trading partner in Africa, supplying much-needed oil in exchange for the foreign financial aid our country provides.
One of the biggest countries affected by this ban is Nigeria; by including Nigeria in this immigration ban, the administration is directly hoping to curb the country’s diaspora of the Nigerian people and implying undertones of who is welcome in our nation.
According to a Migration Policy Institute study, first- and second-generation Nigerians are well-educated and are more likely to possess professional jobs than the general U.S. population. Therefore, this immigration ban may also be detrimental to the nation’s economy, since these individuals contribute to such a large part of our society.
Consequently, it is extremely clear that this crucial relationship with Nigeria cannot be jeopardized; nevertheless, the discrimination for Nigeria immigrants is a step short of thanking the country for its services.
In reality, our president cannot even provide simple respect for countries included in the immigration ban, let alone decent gratification. In fact, in 2017, Trump had stated that the Muslim and African citizens “had AIDS,” and Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” when visiting America. The president’s statements, which have been repetitive throughout his term, indicate that these bans are rooted in racism. If this is the case, we should not simply stand by while others are facing prejudice.
In addition, by barring southeastern Asain countries from receiving American citizenship, families from these countries are torn apart. Individuals including green card holders and foreign-born children are separated from their parents and loved ones who live in the countries where the ban is effective. These family members are prohibited from traveling to America, but the people residing in the U.S are not guaranteed re-entry if they do visit their homeland. Consequently, breaking families apart is a far cry from supposedly protecting our nation.
Moreover, the ban went back to the Supreme Court on February 4, where arguments presented by U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents with relatives who haven’t been able to enter the United States because of the ban were presented to the Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, this is not the first time America has presented racism in the form of immigrant laws. Acts depicting prejudice have been seen in the Johnson Reed Act preventing immigration from Asia, the Gentleman’s Agreement discriminating Japanese in California and even the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 establishing percent quotas for certain nations and specifically discriminated against Southern Europeans.
Alas, it seems as though we have not learned from our past mistakes. Many of these acts only resulted in hysteria and xenophobia from the public, heightening an issue that initially was not prevalent. Trump’s new immigration policy only foreshadows the same attitude that will grip our nation, bringing greater hardships on our long list of government conflicts.
These rationales and administrative actions have tremendous consequences for our country. When our government carefully selects who is able to enter America, this demonstrates that the right to vote is not ubiquitous to everyone- but rather to a certain group.
Despite this, there can be some logic behind the new immigration policy. In light of the recent Coronavirus jumping continents, it may be wise to heighten security measures for those who are able to enter and leave America. Yet, Trump’s current policy does not protect the country’s safety in any sense and must be thoroughly amended to serve as the enforcement of safety.
America is a harbor of safety, an outlet for individuals to achieve sought out goals without restrictions. Despite this, the new immigration policy places a very large roadblock, an unavoidable cone, as if to say, “You’re not welcome here.”