Monday, May 29, 2017

#ReadingResistance - Part 2

There has been a lot of back and forth between the US Executive Office and federal courts since the issuance of Executive Order 13759, signed January 27, 2017.  This first order which suspended US entries of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  In fact, various parts of the first order were enjoined by various district courts and courts of appeals, most noticeably in Washington State v. Trump.  So much confusion and public outcry led to a replacement of the first order to a second attempt, Executive Order 13780.  This order restricted nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen unless they are lawful permanent residents of the United States, have visas that were valid as of January 27, 2017, or receive a case-by-case waiver.  Furthermore, Iraq was removed from the list of banned countries. Heightened screening and extreme vetting still require federal agencies, such as the State Department and the US Department of Homeland Security to develop strengthened screening procedures and criteria for populations warranting increased security.  Such immigration actions have caused decreased interest in travel to the US. Emirates Airlines has cut flights to the US by 20% because of the order and a recent ban on using electronics on flights from some ME countries, including Jordan. More importantly, tourism experts estimate that 4.3 million fewer visitors will travel to the US in 2017, resulting in a loss of $7.4 billion." The predictions for 2018 show an increased loss of $10.8 billion. (Cowger, Bolter, and Pierce, 2017. "The First 100 Days: Summary of Major Immigration Actions Taken by the Trump Administration," Migration Policy Institute Fact Sheet. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute).

So, even though it has been 5 months, the immigration debate still rages on both sides.  It is confusing for those of us with MENA connections.  As far as interior enforcement of immigration laws, reportings on and arrests of noncitizens has increased, with several cities in at least 33 states have debated or enacted legislation preventing the enactment of such measures (so called, Sanctuary Cities). 

All of the above is our concern as citizens of the world. I am all for taking immigration precautions, but I also know first-hand that the vetting process is already rigorous, having gone through the immigration process with my spouse.  Our story, as well as other's I know, is full of difficult meetings, intimidation and thorough examination of every aspect of our personal lives.  It is hard to imagine a more rigorous system than the already existing immigration process. 

Again, how could I help?  I know books and authors.  I believe reading helps us understand the narratives of others.  The process of compiling #LIISSSY resources has given me a glimpse of the hardships that each country faces - exile, famine, persecution and death. It has helped me develop empathy. If you are afraid of the unknown, the only way to conquer that fear is to uncover what is unknown to you.  Reading is a safe way to learn about "the other."  Hopefully, in that process, you will also learn more about yourself.  

Enjoy the rest of the #LIISSSY lists.