Dear Senators,

I am writing  to ask you to speak out, publicly and strongly, against the immigration and refugee ban put into effect by President Trump’s hastily penned Executive Order on 1/27/17. While its purported purpose of keeping Americans safe is laudable, its execution and contents can do no such thing, as they are ineffective, un-American, and immoral.

First, the actions of Trump’s EO are utterly ineffective at stopping acts of terrorism, as they fail to identify both the actors of and the catalysts for terrorism on American soil. Trump’s Executive Order explicitly cites the September 11 attacks, and yet none of the seven countries explicitly singled out for his ban – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – are connected with those attacks, nor has any American been killed in a subsequent terrorist act by a perpetrator from any of these countries. In contrast, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – the countries of origin for the 9/11 bombers and (unremarkably) in which Trump has extensive investments – are conspicuously absent. Moreover, the most effective way to breed anti-American sentiment is to have America proclaim loudly and repeatedly that people can and should be viewed as a danger to be avoided or a threat to be eliminated solely as a consequence of the country and/or faith into which they were born. There is a reason why Daesh uses the words and policies of Donald Trump as a recruiting tool… do not give them further material.

Second, the ban against immigrants is explicitly un-American. We are a nation of immigrants, and if you don’t believe me, there are some folks in the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations I could arrange to have you speak with. We are a nation founded by people fleeing persecution from their homeland, a country of dispossessed people, and a melting pot of cultures and traditions held together by the belief that we are made better when we come together as one. It is the sentiment enshrined in E pluribus unum, which was our national motto from 1782 until we, as a nation, succumbed to fear of The Other in 1952. As a nation, we have bested the greatest navy on the planet (twice); we have defeated the forces of fascism, Nazism, and communism; and we will survive a group of radicalized Twitter-savvy savages, but only if we keep our core national values intact. To turn away the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to simply breathe is a dereliction of our duties as both Americans and as human beings, to say nothing of the Christian principles you claim should shape every decision you make.

This brings me to my final point: a ban against refugees is inherently immoral. These are people who are not seeking to cause terror and carnage, but to escape it. Force yourself to look at the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi or the dust- and blood-covered face of a boy in an ambulance in Syria; force yourself to read the goodbye tweets of the Syrians during the fall of Aleppo or the passenger manifest of those Jews on the St. Louis who we sent back to Auschwitz or Buchenwald; and then try to square that with the fact that we, the greatest country on Earth, the City upon a Hill, the land of the free and the home of the brave; that we not only DID NOT HELP… but further pledge that we WILL NOT HELP.

I cannot do that, nor do I hope you can either. Speak out against this ban, Senator. Speak out against it, and then do something about it.


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