In 1939, the United States blocked 908 Jewish refugees on the MS St. Louis from entering the country. Forced to return to Europe, about a quarter of those refugees were killed in the Holocaust. Last Friday, Donald Trump signed an executive order that has the potential to repeat this lethal blunder, only on a much larger scale.
The Trump administration has justified these unconstitutional actions under the pretense of national security. However, refugees are anything but a security threat, especially considering the stringent vetting process that the U.S. already employs. Out of 784,000 refugees admitted to the U.S. since 9/11, not a single one has been found guilty of terrorist activities in the U.S.
To those who say this is not at all a religious ban but merely a ban on immigration from certain countries, note that those of Christian faith are given preference over others in being admitted entry to the U.S. This is done under the pretense that Christians are the only ones who are in significant amounts of danger, but many others, including Muslims, face the same adversity and are being denied refuge because they are not Christian. This is a religious test that the Trump administration is attempting to frame in a more palatable way, hoping that Americans turn a blind eye and stay silent.
But Americans are not very good at remaining silent. At airports across the U.S., protests have erupted in full force. The Vanderbilt College Democrats are hosting a call-in session to protest this refugee ban on Tuesday, January 31st at 5:30pm at Buttrick 206. This executive order does not only hurt the refugees who are being denied entry, but it also hurts the United States: its businesses, its communities, its values, and its residents. We cannot stand by and allow the Trump administration to act against the interests of the American people.