Isolationism won't protect us against foreign threats
As President Trump’s executive order came down last weak banning immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries, I felt reflective of my own immigrant roots.
Part of my mother’s family came from Ireland during the potato famine. They were facing starvation and certain death. They were looking for a better life for their children and grandchildren just as those refugees fleeing war-torn Syria are hoping for the same for their children.
In my mind I can see the black and white photographs of the era depicting storefronts with signs that said “No Irish.”
I think about the prejudice and hardships they must have faced, and I appreciate the sacrifice they made for my future.
I also think about my paternal great-grandfather whose parents had similar dreams for him when they emigrated here from Austria.
His parents were also looking for prosperity.
They were following the American dream.
My Germanic-American ancestors made it through World War II without reprisal.
I think sometimes about how my family history might have been different if my family had been Japanese-American instead of Germanic.
They would have ended up in interment camps. It was not our nation’s finest hour.
I think about my Native America ancestors. They also had a different culture and religion, which embolden white Christians to nearly wipe my ancestors from the face of the earth.
I think about the trail of tears, during which my Cherokee ancestors were uprooted from their Carolina homes and became refugees in their own country.
I think about all of these people from different cultures, religions and races who came together to make not only our nation but also me as a person.
I am saddened by the persecution and genocide, but I am proud that ultimately all of these different people could come together to make me and my American culture and heritage.
I look at Trump’s order, and I wonder why have we not learned from our mistakes.
I favor immigrant vetting. I favor legal immigration. I do not support prejudice against a whole religion based on fear and hate.
As of 2010 there were 1.6 billion, Muslims in the world. That is roughly 23 percent of the world’s population. Islam is the second largest world religion and is the fastest growing religion in the world.
As of 2016, there were 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States.
Trump just alienated a quarter of the world’s population.
Further Trump just handed the Islamic radical terrorists a great recruiting tool.
In some American circles, Muslim has become synonymous with terrorism. This is just not fact. A tiny fraction of those 1.6 billion people would fall under the definition of radical Islamic terrorists, and yet we are banning women and children from our country based on nation of origin and religion.
People who had been vetted and had legal right to be in the United States were stuck in airports.
Trump turned his back on our rich immigrant history and the Bill of Rights guarantee of religious freedom when he signed this order.
Immigrants brought prosperity to this country. Tech companies are up in arms about the ban, saying the ban puts a chilling effect on their attempts to recruit talented foreign-born employs to Silicon Valley.
Between 2000 and 2010 immigrant inventors held 194,600 patents.
University of California Davis researchers say H-1B workers added $615 billion to the U.S. economy between 1990 and 2010.
Rumors that Trump will further limit Visa, including H-1B visas that allow companies to recruit and employ foreign-born workers with professional and technical skills have the Tech giants donating millions to civil defense funds, stocks dipping and CEOs taking to Twitter and public protests.
To put it in simply terms, not all immigrants are bad, and not all Muslims are bad. Making policy that paints both groups with wide swaths without consulting Homeland Security, the State Department or the business sector is only going to hurt the U.S. economy in the long run.
I understand the fear of terrorism. This would defiantly not be the first time the United States took an isolationist, nationalist stance to foreign relations.
However, isolationism is not going to help U.S foreign relations. It is not going to help the U.S economy. It is not going to protect us against foreign threats. It is not true to our basic principals of democracy, and it is not going to bring unity to our nation.
Cristina Janney is the publisher of the Butler County Times-Gazette. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org