Trump’s travel ban and its culture of fear is a threat to us all

travelbanby LEVINE-RASKY AND GHAFFAR-SIDDIQUI

Cynthia Levine-Rasky and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui are the Jewish and Muslim co-leaders of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Toronto Circle.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated Donald Trump and his coterie by overriding two earlier judicial rejections of a proposed law to control entrance into the United States by travellers from some Muslim-majority countries. Criticisms are plentiful. Journalists, human rights advocates, educators, lawyers, faith groups, and countless others have rightly identified the discriminatory nature of the executive order and its affront to democratic rights and freedoms that we believe distinguishes us from countries like those identified in the ban. Most of the opposition dwells on legalistic questions, parsing the language of the order, and speculating on how it will be implemented.

But there is more to the executive order than its language. Language is abstract; effects are real. What does it feel like to be the object of a travel ban?

On the one hand, details are everything. If you are an American foreign national with a visa from Iran, you get the green flag. If you have a green card and are traveling back to your job in the United States, you are in. If you are visiting family (except if it is your sick grandmother) in the United States, it’s no problem. If you are returning to university classes or if you are a guest lecturer at an American university, you are good to go. If you’re neither a tourist from Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen who wishes to see the Grand Canyon, nor a refugee who wishes to see safety in your lifetime, you should face no impediment. The details ensure your passage. Indeed, the executive order excludes only a limited number of people.

On the other hand, the details don’t matter. The ban, whatever its wording, affects all Muslims everywhere. It turns out that Mr. Trump’s decree against some Muslims from some countries for some period of time has a chilling effect on the quality of life for all Muslims in his country and elsewhere, and for an indeterminate period of time.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GLOBE AND MAIL (CANADA)

 

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