Op-Ed: Immigration Policies Should Not be Used to Institutionalize Bias, Bigotry

Last week, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold President Trump’s travel ban from seven countries including North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Venezuela. While these are not all Muslim majority countries, the rhetoric used by Trump, including his call for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” in conjunction with the original language of the travel ban shows that this is a “Muslim ban” masquerading as a travel ban.

The original version of this ban did not include North Korea and Venezuela and included a clause to admit refugees facing religious persecution only if “the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” And while this ruling can make my fellow Muslim Americans feel uncomfortable, I believe that now more than ever, we must be confident to be Americans.

I am a second-generation Muslim American and a part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the oldest Muslim organization in the United States.

My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in search of the American dream, which I wholeheartedly believe they attained. As PhDs in physics teaching at Virginia Tech, they both retired in rural Virginia and spent a good part of their lives there raising cows and horses. To me, they were as American as it gets. When my grandparents, and many other Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan faced religious persecution, America was their beacon of hope and chance for a better life.

Their American dream was genuine and shaped largely by the people who were their neighbors, colleagues, students and friends. When I reflect on the recent decision by the Supreme Court to uphold  Trump’s policy, I can’t help but realizing that it was not policy that shaped my grandparents experience as Americans, but it was Americans themselves who made their lives fulfilled.

I believe that as Americans, we must be an example for the rest of the world. We must act with justice for the good of all Americans and future Americans. Immigration is the engine that has brought us to where we are today and continues to lead us as a nation.

While I believe that security concerns can be valid and proper vetting is needed to ensure our country remains safe, I know we can act on these concerns with more integrity and justice. Our national security policies should be implemented with great care and we should not utilize policies like this as a way to institutionalize bias and bigotry.

Most importantly, we should draw closer together as Americans to actively fight institutionalized and blatant Islamophobia by exhibiting true American values and by exercising our right to vote and be heard in November.

Deeana Ijaz is from Los Altos Hills and is currently pursuing her PhD in education from Columbia University. Opinions in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

14 Comments

  1. > While these are not all Muslim majority countries, the rhetoric used by Trump, including his call for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” in conjunction with the original language of the travel ban shows that this is a “Muslim ban” masquerading as a travel ban.

    Dear Deeana:

    Here in America, the law is based on what the law says, not on “the original language” that no longer exists.

    If Columbia University ever grants you a PhD, an MA, a BA, a certificate of attendance, or a participation trophy they should be raided by the bunco squad and brought up on fraud charges.

    • Why did you have to insult her? Disagree if you want to disagree, but insulting her like that is not ok.

      • > Why did you have to insult her? Disagree if you want to disagree, but insulting her like that is not ok.

        She started it.

        She insulted my intelligence and she deceived my fellow American citizens by distorting and misrepresenting Trump’s policies.

        This is not the “Bush grin-and-bear-it era”. Liars are going to be called out.

        • >>Liars are going to be called out.

          Uh-oh. Cha ching. Badass on patrol here! Has Trump got you a real job yet? Or is monitoring this blog for “liars,” coming up with caustic zingers, and occasionally masquerading as an internet beat cop representing the Trump administration, too time-consuming an occupation already?

    • Just because the language has changed doesn’t mean there isn’t a call to be concerned, and that’s exactly what she is pointing out. Using minorities as scapegoats for the poor and uneducated to pin their problems to is business as usual for this administration. She gets that, and maybe that’s why she is at Colombia and you’re not. Thank Sweet God Almighty

  2. When muslim men start telling women they’d better cover their faces and bodies, or else… Do feminists honestly believe the average man now-a-days would lift a finger? Nope. Men, more than likely, are going to sit back and laugh.

    Feminist think men are disgusting, but muslim men don’t care one way or the other–they’re just women.

    • In my Muslim family I’ve never heard a man tell a women once what to wear. I have however seen it in my own white culture. Just saying……

      • > In my Muslim family I’ve never heard a man tell a women once what to wear.

        What? It’s only Muslim women telling other Muslim women to wear burqas and hijabs? I never knew.

        Yusef:

        As a member of a Muslim family, do you believe that you must abide by Sharia law?

        Do you believe that Sharia law is compatible with the U.S. Constitution and that you can fully abide by both?

  3. > Op-Ed: Immigration Policies Should Not be Used to Institutionalize Bias, Bigotry

    How about not using college admission — and faculty hiring — policies to institutionalize bias and bigotry:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-03/trump-reverses-obama-era-policies-use-race-college-admissions

    “And here is where Asian students felt cheated: as the WSJ reports, in court filings published last month as part of its continuing litigation, the university revealed that Asian-American applicants on average had higher academic marks and received higher scores from alumni interviews than other racial groups. But on a “personal” score that admissions officers used to gauge applicants’ character, Asian students scored the lowest.”

    And as long as we’re looking into the matter, would someone check and report how Elizabeth Warren got to be a law professor at Harvard and Michele Dauber got to be a law professor at Stanford?

  4. Great article Deeana! What an important reminder to stay focused on the true American values that made America appear so great around the world.

    Here in Canada we can only watch disappointingly as America’s international reputation continues to deteriorate due to increasing bias and bigotry in policies such as this.

  5. > I am going to exercise my right to vote in November, but probably not they way you are.

    I completely understand.

    Just some friendly advice:

    Stay away from Twitter and Facebook. I was tricked by Russian bots into voting for Trump, and now no one likes me anymore.

    I can’t get a date, I get thrown out of restaurants, and crazy Trump haters shoot up my neighborhood baseball games.

  6. I agree with the protestors in the photo- There is no Muslim ban. 5/49 Muslim-majority countries representing 8% of the world’s Muslim population does not a Ban make. Regardless of what was said during the campaign. And those 5 countries were on the Obama administration terror list.

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