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Why banning refugees is un-American and wrong

During the WWII, the United States turned away a ship carrying 900 German Jewish refugees, who had made it to Miami after much trouble from Cuba which refused entry to the group. The refugees, escaping the constant fear of extermination under the Nazi-perpetrated horrors, were denied the right to life of freedom and peace.

The refugees went back to Europe, where hundreds of them died in the Holocaust while others scattered over many other countries perished during the World War II attacks.

The decision has been judged harshly by writers and historians and termed as wrong and immoral.

After the World War II, the United States emerged as the world’s pre-eminent power and championed protection of human rights, democracy and human dignity around the world

But more than seven decades later, the United States seems to be caught in another moral morass.

President Donald Trump has drastically reduced the number of refugees the United States was to take in this year – from 110,000 to 50,000 as part of his Executive Order banning new travelers as well as issuance of visas to new applicants from six Muslim majority countries.

The Trump Administration and the United States have every right and must take measures to protect Americans against terrorist threats. But a blanket order that affects thousands of hapless displaced children, women and men is not only un-American, but also against the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and longtime cherished values of promoting freedom and liberty.

According to the United Nations, the world is currently witnessing the largest humanitarian crisis in the form of mass displacement of communities from failed-states and terror attacks like those perpetrated by ISIS, as well as majority populations’ persecution of minorities.

Syria and Iraq are two of the worst catastrophes in modern history, and millions of people being pushed out of their homes are at the mercy of foreign countries.

The United States, being the largest economic power, has always taken pride in leading from the front at the United Nations and other forums to defend fundamental rights of people.

Recently, a group of foreign policy experts and top diplomats who served under the two post-9/11 presidents, George W Bush and Barack Obama, wrote a letter to President Trump pointing out that America’s keeping out refugees and immigrants feeds into ISIS propaganda that the U.S. is at war with Islam.

American Muslim Institution believes that the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and reduction in refugee admissions does not befit a nation of America’s stature with a long history of compassion toward refugees and immigrants seeking shelter from conflict zones irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliation.

While we must address terrorism concerns and ensure our security, our nation cannot allow America to lose its moral standing and leave thousands of refugees die at the hands of terrorist groups and autocratic rulers.