It is no secret that immigrants founded the great nation of the United States. These men, mainly from England, came here to start a new life. For some it was a chance to own land and earn money, and for others it was a chance to practice their own form of religion. It is based off these principles that the United States fought England to become independent and set up the Constitution, which is how the country is still governed over 200 years later. Our founding fathers fought for and drafted a document that would guarantee our citizens such things as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is no wonder why, in the face of starvation, brutal executions without trial, and religious oppression, millions of people want to flee the Middle East and start a new life here. However, President Trump, in the name of national security, put harsh restrictions on the immigration of refugees and non-refugees alike and even banned travel to the United States by people from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan. Throughout the rest of this paper I will illustrate both sides to the argument and weigh in on my own opinion at the end.
To begin with, the executive order was halted in a federal appeals court in Seattle before it could go into effect. However, they told the administration to re-word it then submit it for re-appraisal (probably with the same general effects intact). While the legality of it is a completely different issue, let’s talk about some of the arguments from both sides.
The left believes it is the United State’s job to help out all of the people in the world. We are the strongest, wealthiest country in the world so it is our duty to protect less fortunate people. By turning away refugees we are not withstanding our moral duty and we are just standing by as these countries commit crimes against humanity. Furthermore, the left believes that by keeping these predominantly Muslim people out, we are not being inclusive and it shows our favoritism to WASP people. What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the world when people of need are coming to us in the thousands and we are turning them down because they are from a Muslim country? Finally, they would point out that there have not been any attacks by immigrants on the United States since 9/11. Also, the people fleeing here are leaving the oppressive radical regimes and seeking a more peaceful tolerant state here, so why would they be anything but grateful to us?
The right believes that the United States can help out the rest of the world but believes we should do it when it benefits us. Our moral obligation as the leader of the free world should not undermine our ability to keep our citizens safe, and that is the government’s main job. Also, they would say we are not discriminating against only Muslims because there are some non-Muslim people in these countries who want to get into the United States as well but will not be able to under the ban. We simply are discriminating against dangerous people entering this country, and these seven countries pose the greatest threat to us. The right’s final point is that even though we have not had any immigrants come here and commit an attack since 9/11 we should try to protect against this still, and the best way to do this is not allow citizens from the countries who are the most radical.
While both sides make valuable points I tend to side with the left more on this argument. I do not believe that we should turn a cold shoulder to all those who yearn for the freedom that the best country in the world can offer them. All they want is a better life for their families and to give them the opportunity to improve theirs and their children’s lives. After all this is what the United States stands for, and has always stood for. If we falter our principles in the face of fear then terrorism wins. It is important, now more so than ever, that we lead by example and show that we care about all people of the world and that we will offer anyone life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This being said I do agree that the safety of the United States people is the top priority of our government and if an individual is suspicious they should be heavily vetted to make sure a horrific incident like 9/11 does not happen again.
Finally, I do not believe that the United States can, or should, take all of the people in who want to come in. There are so many unhappy people especially in these countries that want to come here and we simply do not have the means to have them all come here at once. We would need to ship all of them here provide them housing, food, education, and everything else to give them a better life here in the United States. I strongly believe that our biggest impact (and our duty as a country) is not by taking all of these people in but rather by fixing their countries. The people who want to come here are often the wealthier idealists who flee a drowning country. Those same people, ironically, are the very people we need over there making sure that everyone has the ability to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So if we really want to solve this problem and help those people and build a better safer world for everyone tomorrow then we should help the good people in those countries establish their own governments that provide their citizens with those unalienable rights.