South Asian groups have strongly condemned US President Donald Trump’s revised executive order, describing it as an ‘assault’ on Muslims and immigrants under the guise of national security. The second executive order, which will come into force on March 16, temporarily halts entry to the US for people from six Muslim-majority nations. The ban has been imposed on Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian civil rights organisation, alleged that this is revised and stubbornly racist Executive Order effectively banning Muslims, rejecting refugees, and expanding surveillance on Muslim-American communities under the guise of national security.
“In a twisted dance of trial and error, the President continues his dogged pursuit of a Muslim ban despite national outrage and a unanimous Ninth Circuit decision blocking enforcement of his original order,” stated Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT.
“No matter the legal gymnastics, this latest order is a thinly veiled assault on Muslims, immigrants, people of colour and the founding ideals of equality and freedom in the US,” she said.
In a joint statement, the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) condemn Trump’s new executive order which it said includes many of the discriminatory provisions of his earlier order, which also sought to stop refugees from entering the US and halt immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. These orders, which are based on the misguided idea that certain religious and ethnic populations are more prone to violence, are incompatible with American values, and will not make our communities safer or our nation stronger.
Notably, the order, continues to suspend refugee admission for 120 days, reduce and limit the number of refugee admissions, and targets individuals from six Muslim-majority countries, suspending entry of individuals for 90 days, with some exceptions, the two organisations said. “The President’s Executive Action does nothing more than advance an anti-Muslim agenda espoused during the campaign under the guise of national security,” said SABA president Vichal Kumar.
“A refugee, by definition, is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.”
“The supposed justification for this Executive Action punishes this person for the very same war and persecution that is causing them to leave in the first place,” Kumar said.
“The executive order is a continuation of the same policy that discriminates against and devalues refugees and members of the Muslim community,” said NAPABA president Cyndie Chang.
“We must refuse to act out of fear and intolerance. We must not return to the dark chapters of our history where we judged people by the colour of their skin, how they prayed, or where their family came from. We must stand up for our values of equity, justice, and opportunity,” Chang said. The new executive order clarifies it is not applicable to certain individuals, such as valid visa holders whose documents were issued on or before January 27, 2017, lawful permanent residents, and dual-national passport holders. Both NAPABA and SABA joined litigation against the executive order enacted on January 27, 2017.