Spanbauer: Immigration ban can only lead to violence


Jill Itzen/Iowa State Daily

The Hoodies and Hijabs rally started at Beardshear Hall, and ended at Parks Library, where students and faculty members spoke. The rally was held on Feb. 9.

Peyton Spanbauer

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Friday banning immigration into the United States from certain Middle Eastern countries. As an American, I am embarrassed and ashamed of this order. America’s historic greatness is, in part, because of the multitude of cultures and different peoples in our country. Now we are excluding people from the freedoms and rights that being an American provides.

This order is specifically attacking countries that are predominantly Muslim in religion, including Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Immigration from these countries is to stop for 90 days and refugees from Syria are banned altogether.

This ban directly affects people on our campus. People are being kept from seeing their families, their homes and the religious freedoms that our country once offered.

This sends the message to Muslims that they are not welcome in our country — a country that was founded on the basis of religious freedom and inclusion. The simple fact that we are banning refugees is enough to make America look bad.

If we take a step back in history, it’s not too far off to cite similarities with the development of the Nazi Germany state. Hitler, once in power, openly voiced his dislike for the Jews and the toll he thought they took on their society and began banning and labeling them apart from the rest of society. I’m not saying that we’re about to have another Holocaust in 21st century America, simply that this executive order is a strikingly familiar policy.

Protests have sprung up all over the country in opposition to this latest announcement, from outside the White House to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Trump also faced opposition in Congress as only 154 of the 536 members of Congress were in favor of the travel ban.

Immigrants’ response to the travel ban was predictable. Anger and confusion drove them to file lawsuits and lawyer up.

More than 55 people were detained at six airports across the country on Saturday following the ban. A lawyer representing two Iraqi men who were detained at the JFK airport said that one of the men was an interpreter for U.S. troops overseas and noted the irony of him not being allowed into the country he works for. 

And that’s exactly what this ban is: ironic. America was founded on the basis of religious freedom as brave men and women came to this new land to escape religious persecution. Now, we have blatantly targeted and pointed fingers at a specific religion and people because of some extreme actions and beliefs held by a small minority of said population.

To ostracize a religion and a whole group of people breeds hate. The president of the United States attempting to ban Muslim immigrants from U.S. borders provides the notion that Islamophobia and Muslim stereotyping is acceptable as a society to partake in. It creates an atmosphere of anger and hate that can only lead to violence and destruction.