Born and raised in Iran, until I left to pursue my doctoral studies in the US where I became naturalised, I have for nearly four decades served as a Professor. I share with many Americans the ever intensifying concerns that Donald Trump’s executive actions are influenced by his business interests; however, I focus herein on the [Muslim] immigration “ban.”
This ban puts the national security of this country at risk, since it will help ISIS and Al-Qaeda recruitment. Since 2011, we have had in place a strict vetting process for entry into the US. It is a very long and multijurisdictional process that can drag on for as long as 3-5 years for a temporary visa, and up to twenty years for permanent residency or refugee status. Trump’s executive order is essentially the same as the above, except he has added the racism element against Muslims and anyone perceived to be Muslim. In doing so, Trump has cancelled 100,000 temporary and family repatriation, and refugee visas, which if reinstated would all have to go to back of the line.
Trump has also pandered to the worst radical elements of this country by promoting intolerance of Muslims and their religion. The safety, security, and equal opportunities of 50 million naturalised Americans and their US born children have all been threatened by the bigotry and fanaticism perpetrated by the Trump administration.
Many Americans of Iranian heritage, as well as those from other largely Muslim countries, are even seriously considering immigrating to Canada, Switzerland, or the Scandinavian countries. It is, henceforth, imperative that the courts and Congress provide the proper checks and balances to prevent the Trump administration from taking this country in the wrong direction.
The total number of Iranian-Americans and their US born children and relatives, as well as students, tourists, scholars and business visitors from Iran, is substantially larger than the combined sum of the six remaining counties affected by the ban. Among the many sectors within American society adversely impacted by Trump’s “immigration ban,” the one million Americans of Iranian heritage and their families are most severely affected. They can no longer travel to their country of birth or ancestry, where most still have close family and cultural ties. Furthermore, their families from Iran cannot visit with them in the US either. It is very painful for an Iranian grandmother not to be able to visit her American grandchildren, even for a short while. This is a misguided and inhumane executive order, antithetical to American values. The executive order does not promote our national security but serves to fragment families, intimidates educated and productive Americans to leave our country, and deters highly educated foreign nationals, many from Iran, from considering to immigrate to the US. The ban has torn apart the very fabric of this great nation. The Trump administration should not be allowed to violate the constitutional rights of the nearly 50 million naturalised Americans and their US born children. Does President Trump really want to make America great? If so, why is he working to destroy the families of very productive and law abiding immigrants, such as the Iranian-Americans and their US born offspring? Does he not recognise that Iranians, especially those naturalised in the US, are by and large secular, spiritual citizens, despite having a lineage in one or more the following religions or faiths: Islam, Armenian Assyrian Christianity, Baha’ism, Judaism, Mysticism, and Zoroastrianism?
What is great about this country is the outpouring of opposition by Americans to Trump’s “ban” and his other ill-conceived executive orders. This has been expressed by millions through demonstrations, petition drives, calling elected officials in Congress, organising political actions, filing lawsuits, etc. Public opinion outside the US mirrors the reaction of many Americans to the executive order and towards other policies of the Trump administration that promote intolerance.
Six of the seven countries on the “ban” list have already been decimated by the US and our allies. Is Trump intent on imposing heavy sanctions against the seventh, Iran, to turn the 80 million American loving ordinary Iranians against us, and then follow through with the usual preemptive military strikes to ruin the ancient country? Would Americans once again stand for such illegal injustice?
Trump’s policies in other areas also damage this already great country. He is also pushing to weaken the Dodd-Frank Act. Finally Trump gives every indication of being psychologically unbalanced. This is in addition to, his megalomaniac, self-indulgent, egocentric behavior and bovarism. Not the kind of individual who should be entrusted with nuclear weapons or the leadership of this great nation.
As the American phoenix rises from the ashes, so too has its Persian mythological equivalent – the Simorgh – since antiquity. The Simorgh is a majestic bird enshrined in every Iranian psyche, which in essence is aesthetically composed of 30 birds ascending in unison and harmoniously as one.
The Simorgh conjures up the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum”, meaning “out of many, one.” The latter has been our American motto since the nation’s founding in 1776, and is engraved upon our money. Before it is too little too late, we the American people must rise up and stand united, put aside minor differences and legally take back our country via 100% voting turnouts; first the House and the Senate in two years time, and then the presidency in four years.
The US as a nation has been loved by many of the world citizens, including millions of Iranians who despite their government’s repression spontaneously poured into the streets in millions to hold candlelight vigils and lay flower wreaths in honor of those innocents killed by the despicable terrorist acts on September 11, and to cherish American values. Unfortunately the Trump administration does not espouse American values. Our nation deserves an urgent return to a normal state of affairs, including equal opportunities for all.
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This post was written by David Rahni