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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Students write - Hampton New Hampshire point of view: Immigration

While the Donald Trump administration continues to cower to the right wing of the Republican party by forcing cruel policies, there are many Americans (a growing majority) who believe the most detrimental impact on our nation's democracy is the president who wants to ban immigrants based on religious affiliation. In fact, by being from one of 7 predominantly Muslim countries, will prevent anyone from those nations from entering the USA. (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - but, notably missing in this list are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Pakistan.)

This policy makes no sense and is detrimental to the purpose of our Constitutional values: "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson- circa 1787
Yesterday's June 5, blog reported about an opinion editorial published in the Portland Maine "Baxter Academy of Technology and Science", student newspaper. In the opinion essay, the student Declan Morgan summarized, with footnotes, the history of times when society overcame religious bigotry.  He called for history to repeat this accomplishment with regard to Muslim bigotry.

Today, I found another student essay, published in a Letter to the Editor, in the Portsmouth New Hampshire "Seacoast On-line".  

U.S. should welcome immigrants

In my opinion, these two letters are harbingers of a hopeful future, where youth awareness will conceivably transcend the tide of right wing extremism by supporting policies to heal our nation's divisions.

To the Editor:

As everyone knows, on Jan. 27 President Trump signed into effect an executive order called, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which bans travel into the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East or North Africa. Many people have questioned his judgment in signing this order, and rightly so- the matter is made even more suspicious when it’s taken into consideration that most of the White House’s administration, including the Department of Homeland Security, were not allowed to know the details of the order until the day it was signed.

Three times in the order does Trump use the phrase, “detrimental to the interests of the United States”:

I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from [Iraq or Syria], would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry... of such persons for 90 days.”

I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until... sufficient changes have been made... to ensure that the admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.

I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until...additional admissions would be in the national interest.

When Trump looks at the refugee crisis (i.e., in Europe and other countries), he sees numbers that don’t line up with the “interests of the United States.” 

But what exactly are the interests of the United States? 

The last time I checked, our US population was and still is made up of immigrants from all over the world who had hope for a better life. Refugees have the exact same mindset- hundreds are risking their lives every day for the hope of a better and safer life. They are no different than us. There’s always going to be a risk of terrorism, no matter who is in the country; in fact, of the 250 American citizens who had tried to join ISIS by May of 2016, some were born and raised in the US, even raised Christian.

Terrorism is no doubt a threat to our country, but the “interests of the United States” should not be to keep out thousands of like-minded, innocent people who need a safe place to go.

Adele Sinagra
Student at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton New Hampshire

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