US President Donald J Trump has signed and sanctioned an executive order, stating that civilians of seven nations having a predominantly Muslim-majority population, have been banned from entering the United States. The executive order, sanctioned by the President, will last for a period of 90 days.1 This resource aims to provide an understanding of the ban, countries affected, the goal of the ban and its criticisms. The Nations affected by the ban are: Somali, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq and Lybia. Let us further decode what the ban means for these 7 nations.
What it means for affected nations
To completely understand the effect of President Trump’s immigration ban on affected nations, we’ll need to further dig down and analyse every country’s political, economical and socio-economical state and the wars it encountered. We must also analyse the country’s past migrationary numbers.
The country of Somalia has been in the midst of a civil war that has been raging for the last 25 years. Situation in the nation hasn’t improved much among the years. A United Nations report states that the average life expectancy of a Somalian National was 45.4 years in 1990, this increased to 50.9 in the year 2000, 54 in 2010 and 55.1 in 2013.2
Also, according to the report, Somalia’s migrant stock was 478,294 in 1990, out of which 244,201 were males and 234,093 were females.3 By the year 2000, this number decreased to 20,087. 2013’s numbers were reflecting at 24,593 immigrants. Majority of the migrant population relocated to neighboring countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Yemen. However, a select faction on the migrant stock relocated to the United states, largely settling in the US State of Minnesota. According to American Community Survey, roughly 87,000 individuals with Somalian lineage, live in the United States. The most densely populated US area being Bloomington, Minnesota.
Somalia is also the operation ground for the terrorist group, Al Shabaab; a known affiliate of Al qaeda. Due to the unrest within Somalia, Somalian nationals regularly choose to abandon their country, in the hope of going to safer and more prosperous nations. President Trump’s 90 day immigration ban would effectively end Somalian immigrants entering the United States.
The first Iranian immigrant to obtain citizenship of America was Hajj Sayyah.4 He obtained his US citizenship in the year 1875. The USA have sanctioned immigration for a total of 93,195 lranians, over the years and their total numbers have sweltered from roughly 24 thousand to approximately 330 thousand in 2007. The United states census has further stated that, over 1 million individuals with iranian lineage dwell in the US.5 Los Angeles itself is home to over 72,000 Iranian-Americans. Iran’s per unemployment rate has gone from 10.3% in 2004 to an estimated 11.29% in 2016. This is still quite reasonable, when compared to countries like Djibouti (60% unemployment rate 6), Congo (46.1% unemployment rate 7) and Afghanistan (40% unemployment rate 8). 27.80% of Iran’s youth is also unemployed.
Iran’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate has also decreased to 0.60% compared to 3.7% in the previous year. The current leading large economies of the world, with respect to GDP are India (7.30%) and China (6.8%). The US economy is grown at 1.9% GDP growth rate.
Iran’s reaction to the ban
Iran’s Foreign Ministry agitated by the ban and called it “insulting” and also hinted at recoprocational action against US traveller to Iran
The country of Syria is arguably the most desperate country in the world today. It’s occupation by ISIS bundled with a devastating civil war, has brought it to its knees. Some of the developed countries of the world, lead by Germany, have provided safe havens to Syrian refugees and immigrants alike, as a humanitarian gesture. The United States of America was among the list of countries providing shelter to Syrian refugees. America has provided refuge to over 10,000 Syrian refugees within American borders in 2016.9 America’s stance on admitting Syrian refugees have taken a complete U-turn, post Donald Trump’s executive order. His order also states that, no Syrian refugee will be admitted within US borders indefinitely, closing America’s gates to Syrian immigrants and refugees alike.
This order will directly impact potentially hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrian refugees. However, there is still hope for Syrian refugees as 29 countries have openly accepted Syrian refugees within their borders, they are :
- Turkey (2,724,937 refugees admitted, as of 2016)
- Lebanon (1,500,000 refugees admitted, as of 2015)
- Jordan (1,265,000 refugees admitted, as of 2015)
- Germany (600,000 refugees admitted, as of 2016)
Saudi Arabia, Macedonia, Canada, Hungary, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Argentina among others have taken in Syrian refugees within their borders.10
Syria’s reaction to the ban
SANA, a Syrian media outlet, expressed their displeasure with the anti-immigration ban, by highlighting the executive order’s widespread and global criticism.
Yemen is another nation that has been ravaged by civil war, it’s civil war started in 2015 and it’s effects are clearly reflected in the country’s GDP growth rate, unemployment rate and gross export value. Yemen’s GDP growth rate has gone from 4.8% in 2013, -0.2% in 2014 to a plummeting -28.1% in 2015.11 The country’s Purchasing Power Parity has gone from US $4481.55 to US $2649.31 in 2015. It’s unemployment rate went from 14.6% in 2009 to a whopping 29% in the year 2015, the country’s highest ever recorded number. The effects of unrest were clearly seen in Yemen’s export statements as well. The country exported worth US $9512.23 in 2014, this went down to a paltry US $3290 in 2015.
2.4 million Yemenis were displaced, according to UNHCR.11 The United States is home to 35,000-50,000 Yemeni American immigrants.
Yemen’s reaction to the ban
Yemen’s Foreign Ministry expressed their displeasure by calling the ban “illegitimate”.
Sudan has been a war-torn nation for over 50 years. The country has been part of 3 major civil wars, they were, First Sudanese Civil War (between 1955–1972), Second Sudanese Civil War (between 1983–2005) and finally a third South Sudanese Civil War (between 2013 – present)
Sudan has also faced other major conflicts, such as the Heglig Crisis, Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency and most notably the unrest in Darfur, which has been raging on for over 13 years, with estimates of over 300,000 deaths as a direct result of the conflict in Darfur itself.12
Constant and ongoing wars have taken a grave toll on the economic, socio-economic and political conditions of Sudan. Mentioned below are the GDP, PPP and unemployment numbers of Sudan:
Sudan’s unemployment rate in 1991 was 11.1%, this shot up to 19.5% in 2015.
Sudan’s Balance of Trade stood at a positive USD $704214 thousand in 2011, this plummeted to a deficit of -987552 USD Thousand in 2012.
The country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has also gone down consistently from the year 2008 – 2016
Above conditions have prompted Sudanese civilians to migrate into safer more prosperous havens. Mentioned below is Sudan’s migratory numbers to the US and the rest of the world, according to the International Organisation for Migration:
- Total outward migration from Sudan stands at 1,338,470
- Major inflow countries were South Sudan (552,391), Chad (363,465) and Saudi Arabia (364,304)
- Among European countries, 2914 have migrated to Italy, 3208 have migrated to France and 1855 to Greece.
42,306 have migrated to the United States of America
President Trump’s executive order will have a damaging impact to inflow of Sudanese nationals to the US.
Sudan’s reaction to the ban
Statements on similar lines will issued by Sudan’s government, expressing their anguish on the order.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, over 100,000 Iraqis have migrated to the United States of America.13 Population of Iraqi ancestry in America, is estimated to be at over 200,000, with most of the population residing in Michigan, New York and California.
Iraqi nationals have chosen to migrate to the USA and other developed countries in the hope for a better life, these population groups will be greatly affected by Donald Trump’s decision of a 90 day ban on Iraqi-nationals entering America.
Cost of the 2003 Iraq War
The country was invaded by the US, in the year 2003 and political, social and economical unrest transpired over the coming years. The war’s cost:
- Estimated 103,160 – 113,728 civilian casualties 14
- 4,491 US Army casualties and 7,600 – 10,800 Iraqi Army casualties 15
- 90% of US female soldiers were reportedly sexually harassed, over 30% were raped 16
- Over 4 million Iraqis displaced as a result of the war 17
A substantial portion of Iraq’s population has migrated / attempted to migrate across its borders, to escape these grave conditions, the President’s order will be a damper to people looking to migrate within US borders, in the hope for a better life.
Iraq’s reaction to the ban
According to sources, Iraq has approved an immigration ban on American nationals, as a reciprocation of Trump’s anti-immigration executive order.
Libya has involved in a number of civil and inter-country conflicts, they have been part of the Libyan- Egyptian War (1977), Operation El Dorado (1986), First Libyan Civil War (2011) and Second Libyan Civil War (2014 – Current).
ISIS and Libya
The terrorist group, ISIS, took advantage of unrest caused by Libya’s Civil War and took over various parts of the country, they took over the Libyan Cities of Sirte and parts of Benghazi.
- Estimated total outward migration from Libya is over 140,000, according to the International Organisation for Migration
- 4182 Libyans have migrated to neighboring Algeria
- 36,222 migrated to Italy
- 8,725 people migrated to the USA
Libya’s reaction to the ban
The country hasn’t issued a statement yet.
Why was the anti-immigration ban implemented
The US Government, under President Obama, identified the above mentioned countries as possible sources of terror and imposed a set of travel restrictions on people visiting the US from these nations. The restrictions were not as severe at Trump’s executive order, but it did serve as a reference point for the Trump Administration’s ban. According the the Trump Administration, the Ban was imposed as a safeguard against any terror related activities germinating from these nations and to keep America’s people safe and secure.
Donald Trump’s refugee ban
Trump’s executive order has banned all refugee entry to the United States for a period of 120 days. The order has also permanently banned all Syrian Refugees from entering the country. Conversely, The Obama Administration housed more than 16,000 Syrian refugees, out of which 10,000 were rehabilitated within US soil, in 2016 alone. Let’s take into account how many refugees the US has housed over the years to properly gauge the ban’s impact.
According to UNHCR, a total of 65.3 million people have been displaced globally,18 out of which 21.3 million becoming refugees. The US has accepted, rehabilitated and catered to hundreds of thousands of stateless refugees, over the years. It accepted over 142,000 refugees during the Balkan Wars alone.19 The country accepted an estimated 76,000 refugees in 2012 It accepted over 85,000 refugees in 2016. 20
Based on the above number, future inflow of stateless refugees to the US will be greatly affected, resulting in additional burden on other nations.
Ban’s effect on US Green Card holders
Various US Green Card holders were denied entry into the US, if they were nationals of any of the above banned countries. This was a major cause of panic, distress and anguish among them. The government later issued a statement that Green Card holders would be allowed to enter the country after they complete regular security checks at US Airports.
US Immigration history
According to the Migration Policy Institute, The United States is home to over 42.4 million immigrants 21.
Over 81 million US citizens have an immigrant lineage.22
The US was also chosen as a home by over 140,000 Indian immigrants in 2014.
Thus, it can be concluded that the United States has a rich immigration history.
The ban’s effect on US technology companies
Google has issued a statement, saying that Donald Trump’s ban on the above 7 nations will have bearing on 187 Google employees,23 that are from the the banned country list.
AMD has also issued a statement, lightly condemning the actions of The US Government
NVIDIA, another tech corporation, has issued a similar statement, condemning the actions of the governement.
Study on immigrant founders
According to research, titled as ‘Immigrants and billion dollar startups’, conducted by National Foundation for American Policy, more than 50% of all billion dollar startups, have an immigrant founder at the helm.24
Criticisms from the Democrat Party
- Former President, Obama, criticised Donald Trump’s anti-immigration executive order, stating it “American values are at stake.”
- US Politician, Dianne Feinstein, stated that “Trump had chosen a dark path,”
- Brian Schatz, expressed his disgust on the matter, by venting out this frustration on twitter, through a tweet,”Shame. Shame. Shame,”
Criticisms from the Republican Party
- John McCain has labeled Trump’s move as ‘self-inflicted wound’ and ‘“hasty”. Senator McCain isn’t the only Republican to criticise the move, he is joined by over 19 other Republicans.
- Justin Amash, labled the move as “not lawful”
- Republican, Susan Collins, stated that there would be considerable challenges faced by the administration, with respect to the ban
- Elise Stefanik has also openly objected the move, stating it, “overly broad”
Criticisms from other nations
Germany, one of largest ingesters of Syrian refugees in 2016, expressed their displeasure on the ban. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, issued a statement stating:
“The essential and also resolute fight against terrorism in no way justifies general suspicion against people of a specific faith, in this case people of the Muslim faith or people of a certain background,”
Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has stated that she does not agree with Donald Trump’s newly formed immigration practices. A petition is also being signed by British opposers, to cancel Trump’s visit to the UK and has already received over 100,000 signatures.25
Criticisms from Business leaders and celebrities
Celebrities expressed their anger and displeasure by venting out opposing tweets.
Musicians, Nicky Minaj, Kirk Franklin, Sia, Jack Antonoff were amongst the critiquing celebrities. Actors, Mahershala Ali, Barbra Streisand, Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain were also amongst the fray.
CEO of Apple, Tim Cook also stated ““It is not a policy we support.”
Other opposing business leaders include, Satya Nadella, Travis Kalanick and Elon Musk.