Portola High School

Trump’s Travel Ban: Searching for the Silver Lining

On June 26, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold President Trump’s travel ban under the guise of national security, placing restrictions on entry from five majority-Muslim countries and two others — Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. This decision does not just bar people from entry primarily on the basis of religious differences, but it sends a powerful message to the world that the United States has chosen to succumb to its own fears rather than uphold its constitutional values.

The Supreme Court justified this decision as a matter of national security, not of religion. However, President Trump has made it explicitly clear that this ban is supposed to be “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” as part of his campaign pledge.

As an Iranian American, it deeply hurts me to see that people from my family’s country are perceived in a hateful light. My parents are refugees from Iran, escaping religious persecution during the 1979 Revolution. We are not Muslim — we are Baha’i, a minority religion that is discriminated against in Iran.

My parents came to this country seeking religious freedom. The U.S. has always been an inclusive haven for many of the world’s people. However, when the U.S. upholds this Muslim travel ban, they are stooping down to the same level as the country that my parents had to escape from. This ban shows that we are paralyzed by our differences and that we cannot see our similarities. With this ban, we have chosen to be oblivious.

As a teen, it dumbfounds me to imagine what repercussions this will have on my generation when we have to clean up the mess. Every decision has its consequences, and I fear that the leaders of our nation are ignoring them, blinded by prejudice and corruption. This ban puts the U.S. at war with Muslims, not with the terrorists. Instead of moving us forward, this ban pulls us backward. It damages families and overshadows the voice of the people. It puts America in a bad light and makes us look inhumane.

However, in every era of darkness, hope can be found. This hope lies in the hands of people who search for justice and recognize right from wrong in a time where these two terms are constantly and painfully confused. From the moment this ban was introduced, protests have taken place and petitions signed by several thousand people, many of whom are not Muslim or from countries on the banned list.

Most recently, nationwide protests are erupting since the news broke of the Supreme Court’s ruling. These protests are appearing overseas as well; over 100,000 people are expected to protest in London in a march called “Together against Trump,” scheduled for July 13, the day of Trump’s arrival. It is uplifting to see the solidarity and support shown by people across the world who are not directly affected by the ban but recognize that it is a detriment to all of humanity.

People and countries have been united in opposition. Perhaps this is the legacy of our current administration: to provoke people out of complacency. With each exasperating remark and immoral act, people have risen their voices, demanding for justice, for change and for compassion — and the response to the Muslim ban is no different.

So, when Mr. Trump tweets that this ruling is “a tremendous victory for the American people,” I desperately hope that people recognize it is the opposite, that they take a stand and fight for Muslims across the world. This ban does not make progress. It, however, makes it easier for many Americans to perpetuate religious intolerance.

We are facing a world that increasingly puts up walls, rather than tearing them down. We do not need a ban  — we need to offer our support. This starts with all people exercising their first amendment rights and raising their voices in the face of injustice, here being the Muslim travel ban.

We need to prove that hiding behind a powerful military is not a group of weak people with questionable morals, but people who are brave enough to extend a hand, seek stability and unity. Only when we reach this will we have risen above our fears and put ourselves on a path to solving the world’s issues and making tomorrow a better, more inclusive, place to live for all.