On March 6, President Donald Trump passed “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. This order suspends travel from six Muslim-majority countries and halts the resettlement of refugees. Donald Trump has been calling for a Muslim ban since the beginning of his campaign when he called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
The ban, which lasts 90 days, has been revised from the previous executive order, excluding Iraq from the list of prohibited countries as well as people with green cards and visas. In some ways, however it goes beyond the previous ban.
The order states that the U.S. government shall conduct “a worldwide review to identify whether additional information will be needed from each foreign country” to determine whether nationals from that country are a “public safety threat”. If these countries do not provide the information being collected in the “worldwide review”, immigrants and refugees will be permanently denied entry into the U.S. until they do so.
The order also allows the Secretary of State and Attorney General to “submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment”. In other words, countries from which immigrants are banned can be added and taken off the list at the president’s whim.
This effort to “protect” the people of the United States is the height of imperialist hypocrisy. Contrary to the implication of the executive order, the United States is the number one purveyor, not victim, of terror on the planet. It has the largest defense budget, equating to more than the defense budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, India and France combined.
Throughout its history under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the United States has acted with complete disregard for the sovereignty of other nations, feeling entitled to their markets and resources and leaving millions of corpses in the wake of its military and economic attacks. In the same breath as the U.S. is banning refugees from war-torn Syria, it is nearly doubling its military presence there without authorization from Congress, the United Nations, or the Syrian government.
In a global capitalist system, immigration is not a choice. War, climate change and exploitation of the formerly colonized countries by Western powers has displaced people and families who are simply trying to survive. Now Donald Trump, notorious for being flagrantly racist and xenophobic, is pushing the idea that these victims of imperialist war and exploitation are actually a threat to us. These lies are merely a distraction.
The real threat is the ruling class, the only people who benefit from war, oppression and exploitation. While billions of dollars are being used to fund the military industrial complex and expand U.S. economic power overseas, the people in this country lack access to healthcare, affordable food and housing, clean water and a living wage. The people are angry, and Donald Trump is an expert at redirecting this anger to the most vulnerable among us.
While the Trump administration uses fear to justify racism and war, we will fight back with solidarity. As demonstrated by the defeat of the first Muslim ban, unified and organized mass action is extremely effective. Ultimately, a society that ensures dignity for all people can only be achieved through the people’s struggle.