Written by Rohan Ahuja; Photo from the DFW Airport Muslim Ban Protest
Many Americans think of themselves as just that: American. However, a large majority of Americans fail to realize that unless they are of Native American origin, they are an immigrant of some kind. Immigration has been the foundation of our country long before the modern day, since the founders of the US were immigrants themselves. Although most immigrant laws did not heavily restrict the white European population, there were intense immigration laws against Africans and Asians. However, all of these people coming together has made America what it is today, even though it was only easy to get anywhere for white males. Immigration restrictions would destroy the ideology that makes America what it is today; that every person has equal opportunity to be successful by working hard and diligently; in other words, the American Dream. This however, is contradictory since immigrants are some of the hardest working people in this country, as shown by the amount they have contributed to our economy. The implementation of immigration laws are discriminatory, biased towards whites and Christians, and harmful to America overall, as seen by the current presidential administration's ban on Muslims and prioritization of white Christian immigrants and by the lack of advancement that will follow the decline of our immigration rates.
First off, immigration restrictions are completely discriminatory. This is seen by the Trump administration’s ban of immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. This is utterly un-American, because as a country, we are supposed to greet everyone with open arms. The ban is a hostile way of solving an overblown, almost non-existent refugee “issue”. President Trump has openly conveyed his racist views, as seen by when he called Mexicans “dirty rapists” and called Muslims “terrorists”, which says that he is imposing his own personal views on the country, and not doing what is best for the American people. According to the New York Times, Jim Mattis, the new secretary of defense, believes Trump’s ban was irrational and is “‘causing us a great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system’” (Mattis). Not only do the majority of Americans believe that this is a stupid idea, but so does the secretary of defense: one of the most important positions in protecting this nation. Trump’s rash actions are doing the exact opposite of what he intended them to do. Radical terrorist groups such as ISIS are using this ban as anti-West propaganda, using Trump as a figurehead for the West’s hate for Muslims. Not only does the ban exclude Muslims, but it underhandedly prioritizes Christian refugees. Trump claims that Syrian Christians are being horribly mistreated, yet he does not acknowledge the fact that according to the CIA World Factbook, “99% of the nearly 12,600 Syrians granted refugee status last year were Muslims. Less than 1% were Christian. Syria's population is 87% Muslim and 10% Christian”, further proving that Trump is simply imposing his islamophobic views, not actually trying to help Syrians. Immigration restrictions just prove time and time again to only help those that America deems important, not the people that actually need help.
Secondly, immigration restrictions are extremely harmful to the US in many ways, one major one being economically. Immigrants fuel the economy by providing a larger workforce, they allow for variability in labor skills, and they other countries have different technology, science, and medicine to contribute to American society. Josh Plotkin from the University of Pennsylvania told The Atlantic how “One of his postdoctoral fellows-an Iranian, and a legal permanent resident of the U.S.-was traveling abroad when Trump’s order was signed. ‘They are now separated from their spouse, and likely unable to attend faculty job interviews that are scheduled in the coming weeks. This postdoc was working on new ways to treat HIV/AIDS’”. This quote shows that by blocking immigrants, even those who are residents of the US, will in the end have harmful effects since they contribute to the overall well being of America, and in a case like this, the world. Immigrants are also a benefit to the economy since many take jobs that a lot of Americans are not willing to take. President Trump should especially be able to identify with benefitting from this since two-out-of-three wives of his are immigrants, yet again showing that they will do jobs most Americans would not do.
Ultimately, immigration restrictions will have a long lasting negative effect on the USA. These attacks against immigrants will cut deep in our nation as a whole, and leave long lasting scars that the following generations will have to heal.