Nonsensical immigration policyIn a series of actions to crack down on immigrants, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and issued a 90-day moratorium on visa issuance and entries to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The travel ban is defamatory and racial as it stigmatizes people from a certain group of nations as potentially dangerous of committing terrorism.
Trump’s order has a bigger risk of triggering worldwide protests and a clash of civilizations by labeling the religion of Islam as potentially harmful.
Discriminating a person for his or her birthplace, religious faith and individuality is an outdated practice and outright disrespectful to humankind.
Anti-immigrant policy would only further motivate extreme militants and complicate the U.S. fight against terrorism. Two leading Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham joined the chorus criticizing Trump’s actions. “We fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security,” their joint statement said.
The 2015 and 2016 shootings in France and Belgium were carried out by the children of immigrants who grew up in isolation from the mainstream community. On the other hands, those whose entry was denied by Trump are victims of fanatical terrorist groups. What is needed to fight extremists and terrorism is respect and compassion for multiculturalism, not discrimination. The best way to defeat extremism is the unique form of American soft power based on democracy and human rights.
There is hope yet. Protests are gaining momentum after the U.S. Attorney Generals of 16 states have issued a joint statement condemning Trump’s orders that are “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.” High-profile companies also have joined the public outcry. Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz promised to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. Airbnb has offered free housing for those impacted by the executive order. “America is a nation of immigrants and should be proud of it … We should keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help. That’s who we are,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Trump administration must stop its campaign by paying heed to the voices of America.
Our government must do its best to ensure that Koreans living or working in the Middle East are not affected by the discriminative U.S. policy just because it is an ally. The government also must work towards defending the rights of the 230,000 ethnic Koreans who live in the U.S. without permanent residency.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 31, Page 26