RALEIGH (January 27, 2017) — Today’s Executive Order by President Trump continues a string of initiatives ostensibly designed to create a safer nation, but which, in reality, do no such thing. Instead, they alienate us from the rest of the world, instill fear in our friends, and turn away vulnerable children and families seeking safety. A nation whose iconic symbol welcomes to our shores those who are suffering persecution and despair now substitutes a wall of isolation in its stead.
President Trump’s order to ban entry by people from Muslim-majority nations, temporarily suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and indefinitely ban Syrian refugees from entering the country is nothing less than inhumane. The orders would not only impact refugees, but could also affect individuals from the targeted nations returning home from travel abroad. Rather than playing a leading role in a global humanitarian response, these actions – whether it is for a matter of days, months, or potentially years – send a powerful, damaging, and fearful message to the rest of the world.
Protecting our nation from terrorist attacks is indeed a top priority for us all. However, this goal is not served by baseless, fear-driven actions targeting an entire religion or region of the world. From turning away Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during World War II, to more recently rejecting Haitian immigrants escaping calamitous conditions in their home country, we have, at times, failed to live up to our principles and we have always come to regret it. Today, we forget lessons learned and repeat the same mistakes of the past – to the harm of many innocent children and families and, as important, our nation’s long-term security and international reputation.
The North Carolina Justice Center is proud to stand with Muslim and refugee communities in our state in the fight against Islamophobia and for workable and humane policies that honor the best of our nation’s values and, as such, enhance our security. We mourn this sad moment in our history as our country turns its back on human suffering and embraces policies driven by fear and bigotry.