US: Muslim ban continues to ‘devastate’ lives

Muslim ban has nothing to do with national security, says Maryland senator

The Muslim ban in the U.S. continues to have a “devastating” impact on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and on their families many of whom are U.S. citizens and Green Card holders, a new report revealed. Georgetown University’s “Muslim Ban” report was released on Wednesday amid U.S. administration’s efforts to lecture other countries on religious freedom in U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report released on June 21.

Every year since the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, American officials describe the status of religious freedom in every country in a politically motivated context, at a time when millions of its own citizens are oppressed due to their religious choices. On Jan. 27, 2017, only one week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump issued an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”,

Which was immediately labelled a Muslim ban and denounced by huge swathes of people in the U.S. and across the world. The idea was uttered by Trump for the first time during an election campaign in December 2015, where he promised a ban on Muslim entry to the U.S., citing a poll commissioned by a notoriously anti-Muslim organization.

Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative report said the “poll was methodologically flawed and reported inflammatory and dubious findings about Muslims in the U.S. “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law,” said the executive order, disrespecting the faith of millions of Muslims in the U.S., and billions around the world.

More than 6 million Muslim-Americans, the second-largest faith group in the country, who pay their taxes, serve in the army, and contribute to the U.S. economy in different shapes and forms, were hugely disappointed by the U.S. administration, and Supreme Court decisions. On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Muslim ban did not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the president’s authority to “impose on the entry of” or “suspend the entry of” a “class” of people.

Later, the justices facing national pressure from religious groups and Democrats in the country, formalized a process whereby applicants who were denied visas — or whose visas had been revoked — could apply for a waiver to travel or immigrate to the U.S.

Report criticized the prolonged waiver process at the end of which very few of them, only 5.1% of the more than 60,000 legal Americans obtaining their waivers. It said the “numbers indicate that the waiver process isn’t much of a process at all.” In a sworn affidavit, former consular official Christopher Richardson said that “there really is no waiver [process]”, while another consular official said the “waiver process is a fraud,” according to the report.

Impact of Muslim ban

After analyzing 549 cases impacted by the Muslim ban, report said the process caused tremendous troubles for the Muslims. “Due to their indefinite separation, some parents have never met their children. Some have postponed their weddings, some are prevented from starting a family, and some have died waiting,” said the report.

The latest report by the U.S. State Department shows a stunning 91% decrease of all refugees resettled in the U.S between fiscal years 2016 and 2018. In a press release, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen said the “data makes it abundantly clear that the waiver process is a sham and that the ban has nothing to do with national security.”

According to the report, 38% or 1 in 3 were partners who were separated from each other, 26% or 1 in 4 were children who were separated from parents, and 33% or approximately 1 in 3 applicants experienced at least 2 years of wait time due to the Muslim ban. Report also emphasized U.S.’ role in creating instability and violence in countries it has banned travel freedom. “It bears reminding that the U.S. has intervened, militarily or otherwise, in the Muslim-majority countries listed on Muslim Bans 1.0 to 3.0, whether currently and/or in the very recent past,” said the report.

“This calls into question the role of the U.S. in directly creating, or facilitating the conditions that have led to violence and political instability in these countries,” it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency