Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
SINCE the change of Administration in the United States, Washington’s bilateral relations with many countries have been in a state of transformation. President Donald Trump’s perceptions about a few Muslim countries and approach towards allies have initiated a serious debate over the United States foreign and strategic policies. Many analysts concluded that Trump Administration’s policies would undermine Americans interests in the prevalent interdependent world and thereby these policies would encounter serious opposition, internally.
President Trump issued executive order halting US immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen—for 90 days. In addition, all refugees were barred for 120 days and the executive order also halted indefinitely refugees from Syria. According to the reports, more than 100,000 visas for foreigners inside and outside the United States were revoked. Realistically speaking, all these countries are victim of United States post Cold War—New World Order.
Washington’s regime change policy in the Afro-Arab world unleashed political instability entailing devastating civil wars in these seven countries. The Civil War facilitated the emergence and strengthening of the religiously radicalized militant groups having global reach. Admittedly, today, these states have sanctuaries of transnational terrorist groups. But banning of US immigration from seven Muslim countries is not a solution to the transnational terrorism. Certainly, discriminatory policies of the Trump Administration amplify the anti-Americanism in the Muslim countries and create a more space for enemies of United States. Moreover, it would facilitate terrorist organizations, such as, Al-Qaeda, Deash, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, etc in recruiting the frustrated Muslim youth for their nefarious designs.
The rational Americans instantaneously rejected President’s Trump Executive order. They are convinced that United States cannot adopt isolationists approach in its external affairs during the twenty-first century. They declared Trump’s ban policy as “flat anti-American. Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State stated: “The statue of Liberty message is in fact one of open arms to welcome the people. I do think there’s tears in the eyes of statue at the moment.” Despite the internal opposition, the Trump team is defending Administration’s ban policy by immensely articulating or using the “National Interest,” “National Security”, “American First” jargons. They have been propagating that for the security of the Americans the execution of the executive order is imperative. On February 4, 2017, at the gala in Florida Trump while answering a question on the immigration issue stated: “We’ll win. For the safety of country, we’ll win.” He tweeted: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned.” He is not sparing the adjudicators for the sake of his illogical ban policy.
The executive order unleashed chaos in and around the international airports of the United States. Many Americans protested and approached the Court for the suspension of the executive order. The US District Court Judge, James Robart, halted the enforcement of Trump’s executive order on February 3, 2017. Justice Robart defended his decision by claiming that that Trump’s executive order adversely affects “residents in areas of employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel.” Consequently, the Department of Homeland Security suspended “any and all” actions to implement the immigration order. It resumed’ standard inspections of travellers, as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban’. Though, the Department of Homeland Security obliged to the Court order, the US Justice Department, immediately, rushed to Federal Appeals Court. The Federal Appeals Court also rejected their illegal demand. On February 5, 2017, Federal Appeals Court refuted the US government’s emergency request to resume President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
President Trump and his supporters have been justifying the executive order by claiming that it is intended to protect the United States from the terrorist attacks. Second, Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 “grant the President broad authority to bar or impose conditions upon the entry of aliens.” Third, President has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people and therefore he can take any decision to ensure the security of the people. Though President of the United States primary responsibility is the National Security, yet he does not violate the Constitution. The suspension of executive order and permission of immigration from seven Muslim countries by the District Court and Federal Appeals Court’s upholding of the decision of lower court underscores the independence of the American judicial system.
To conclude, Trump’s immigration ban stunned the world. It has failed to win the popular support within the US. Many Americans are convinced that immigration ban is against their values and their Constitution. Hence, there is a probability that Trump Administration might revise its immigration ban.
— The writer is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.