Jews denied Entry to the United States of America.
Many Jews who wished to escape persecution in Germany prior to World War II were denied entry to the United States. No one could imagine the horrors to which they would be subjected. Since then, the United States has held a commitment to protecting human rights over perceived national interests, particularly when it comes to people seeking asylum. With Donald Trump’s executive order, this commitment has been turned on its head.
The executive order, signed on January 27, banned almost all refugee admissions for 120 days, and banned refugees from Syria indefinitely. It also denied entry to nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. If the governments of these countries could not provide proof that those wishing to enter the US would not be undermining national security, the ban would continue, even exceeding the 90 day period. Since many of the refugees who flee these countries are fleeing persecution from the government in question, it is unlikely that the government would have either the capacity or the motive to provide the required evidence to US authorities.
Trump’s executive order marked only the second time in US history that refugees have been banned from the country. The first was between September 11, 2001 and December 11, 2001. This ban created a huge backlog, and the refugee intake did not bounce back to previous rates for almost a decade. President Trump also decreased the refugee intake from 110,000 per year to 50,000 per year. With the 120 day wait and the backlog, it is unlikely that the intake would even meet this quota.
Executive order denying Jews entry to the USA enjoined by the Federal Courts.
This executive order was blocked by the courts a few days later because the US Constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion. While Trump has claimed that the ban was a security measure and not a religious ban, a report from Homeland Security has recently been released showing that it was an ineffective way to make the nation safer because “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.” President Trump plans to redraft the order, this time excluding green card holders from this ban.
With the signing of the refugee ban, it looked as though the refugee settlement deal with Australia would be dead in the water. However, the executive order included provisions for “pre-existing international agreements.” In the now infamous phone call with Malcolm Turnbull, Trump stated that he would honour the deal made between Turnbull and Obama. He also made it very clear that he was unhappy with the deal, claiming the deal would kill him politically and that it was “the worst deal ever.” It is unclear why he decided to honour the deal, since there is no legal reason for him to honour a deal made under a past president.
As war and political turmoil drive an unprecedented number of people from their home countries, the United States is turning away from its previous record of helping those facing persecution. This will considerably decrease the number of refugees who are able to be resettled worldwide. Countries like Australia need to be the one to try to fill this void, rather than continuing to shirk our responsibilities with resettlement deals and oppressive detention camps.