Mo Juenger is a first-year Philosophy, Politics and the Public and Spanish double major. She is a staff writer for the Newswire from Mason, Ohio.
On Sept. 26, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13888. The order allows both states and local governments to opt in or out of refugee resettlement programs, and as of last Friday, Texas became the first state to opt out.
First, to clarify: a refugee is not an immigrant who has entered the country illegally. This order applies to individuals who have approved asylum claims. These people have gone through the United States’ obscenely complex immigration processes, which takes up to 180 days for an affirmative asylum process and an average of 721 days with no defined or necessary deadline for a defensive asylum process.
Texas, a state which struggles with illegal immigration, is now preventing asylees from seeking a home in the state, home which they have legally earned, after actively seeking the “correct” way to immigrate.
By permitting states to opt out of refugee resettlement, we are saying that we do not care how an individual immigrates. We don’t care if they do it by legal or illegal means because we simply don’t want them here. We are saying that, because a person is not born in the United States, they do not have the right to be here regardless of the efforts we ask them to take in our broken immigration system.
In addition to the opt-in system, President Trump is setting a refugee cap of only 18,000 asylees in 2020. This is less than the amount of students that currently attend the University of Cincinnati. This is less than a fifth of the average number of immigrants that the U.S. allows.
By continually creating fewer and more difficult methods of legal immigration, we are ingraining xenophobia into our political sphere. These structures are flooding our policy with overt nationalism, which signals a growing sentiment of inherent American superiority.
This executive order is dangerous to our nation’s integrity in two ways.
First, this signifies a clear human rights issue. As a country, we are morally obligated to allow those in genuine needs who have taken the proper path to asylum into our borders. We have laid out rules and regulations for the asylum process, and refugees who simply follow our order deserve the safety we have promised to them.
Second, a non-functioning legal asylum process will obviously lead to a higher rate of illegal immigration. If an individual could even afford to take the overwhelming expense, time and journey to migrate from their own unsafe environment into the U.S., orders like these have made it wholly unnecessary.
This argument, which I believe should appeal to either end of the political spectrum, represents the logical fallacy which follows an administration that both dehumanizes illegal immigrants and shuts down the valid processes for legal immigration.
Executive Order 13888 is currently being sued by three religious refugee resettlement agencies in Maryland federal court. It is crucial that our Supreme Court blocks this gross act of injustice.
I urge you, irrespective of political affiliation, to support the removal of this order across the United States. We are not xenophobic; as Xavier students, we are representatives of compassion. We believe in upholding a standard of justice for and with others, and it is all of our responsibilities to ensure that refugees are permitted refuge from the appalling dangers which drive them to the U.S.
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