I would like to start this piece out by asking one question of my friends who oppose President Donald Trump's recent executive order on immigration: where were you on Friday, November 13, 2015?
I remember exactly where I was- I was sitting in my room watching horror and terror unfold in Paris, France. I remember my roommates complaining about the chosen network for news coverage I had picked, but I told them it didn't matter who is covering it- Paris was under attack. In total, 130 people lost their lives that night when terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked a soccer stadium, several restaurants and cafes, and the Bataclan Theater. Another 368 were injured.
The attackers' identities were quickly revealed, and ISIS claimed responsibility. Radical Islamic Terrorism had been on the rise in Europe since the rise of ISIS in 2014, but Paris was the first major, directed attack on European soil. Several other earlier attacks- Charlie Hebdo in France and the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium placed fear in Europeans. In addition, there have been countless small stabbing attacks committed by ISIS-inspired individuals since 2014. There have also been failed attacks, like the one that was stopped in Belgium by three Americans and a Brit who were recently on a train heading to France.
Unfortunately, not only were these attackers members of ISIS, but they also happened to be refugees from several Middle Eastern nations where ISIS was present. They entered Europe through the refugee population and were thus able to blend in once they reached any European state. The concern then not only became was ISIS infiltrating the refugee population, but are they also radicalizing members of the refugee population by spreading lies about Europe and America to inspire hatred?
The answer came in the form of more attacks across Europe, including in Nice, Berlin, and Brussels. All were committed by soldiers of ISIS.
It is impossible to count up the number of individuals arrested worldwide for attempting to commit attacks or suspicion of planning attacks in recent years. The most recent came in Germany where 16 individuals have been arrested in recent days for planning attacks associated with ISIS. Thousands of raids have been conducted across Europe in order to stop ISIS sympathizers in recent years.
Worst of all? This is just Europe.
The United States has faced its share of terror attacks and threats in recent years. Because the attacks weren't committed by large groups, we often forget what happened in San Bernardino, Orlando, Boston, and New York City. In San Bernardino, Orlando, and New York City, all the attackers had pledged their allegiance to ISIS. Terror arrests continue in the United States, as well.
One that hits close to home with me was a man arrested in Rochester, New York in 2015 for planning an attack on New Year's Eve. The threat never stops no matter where we are in the world.
Over the past week, there have been hundreds of protests across the country, as people decry Trump's racist Executive Order. What exactly is in the Executive Order?
The order restricts immigration and refugees for a three month period, from the states of Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and Libya. Six of these states are terrorist hotbeds. They are also either failed states, or near-failed states. This means there is no government, or the government has no control over the population and what is going on. In these conditions, there is no tracking method for those entering and leaving the country. There is no method for tracking the moves the individuals are making; therefore, there is no way to know what is going on in these nations.
ISIS has openly stated that they want to use the refugee population as a tool.
Opponents of President Trump's order claim ISIS wants us to do this. This is false. ISIS has rejoiced in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande who have stated they will not temporarily suspend their refugee programs while they sort out their national security situations.
Another thing opponents claim is that this is a ban on Muslims. This is also false. First, other Muslim majority nations are not on this list. Why? They are strong allies of the United States. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt have been steadfast and strong in fighting ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. It is just as much of a threat to their nations as it is to ours.
The religion of Islam is not evil, but the evil of ISIS is trying to poison it. The majority of the Muslim world also despises ISIS and wants them gone. There are those wrongly claiming the United States is abandoning them, and that barring them is counterproductive.
President Trump announced the other day that he has agreed to work with Saudi Arabia to set up safe zones inside of Syria. This will stop the flow of refugees to both nations and others while allowing them to stay home and prepare to take back their own country. We need to work with the Muslim community to stop ISIS.
However, there are two legitimate concerns with President Trump's order. The first is that it is mentioned in the order that exceptions can be made for minority religions. In order to avoid a clash with the First Amendment, this clause should be removed. There should be no mention of religion whatsoever in this order. Second, the law currently clashes with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 which prohibits the banning of immigration based on national origin. However, this law can be easily overturned by Congress, and therefore no longer clash with the executive order.
When the President of the United States and the members of his cabinet take the oath of office, they take an oath to defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This order takes that step. It also allows President Trump time to set up his national security team and for them to assess the current situation.
This is only temporary.
While the rollout may not have been perfect, the intention was honest and meant to put America first. I have had discussions with many individuals who have said it is our duty to protect those less fortunate. We can do that, but only if Americans are safe first. I understand and agree that not all refugees are bad, but in the end, I support this plan that allows us to pause and catch our bearings before more individuals from failed states are let into our country.
I hope that others can understand these concerns, and join me in hoping for the safety of America.