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Dear Donald –

I’ve been struggling for the last few days to figure out how to express my feelings about your order banning travel from seven majority-Muslim nations for 90 days, stopping the refugee program for 120 days, and indefinitely suspending Syrian refugees entering this country. 

Do I take the tack of pointing out that none of the countries you’ve singled out has been responsible for an act of domestic terror in the U.S. since 9/11? Do I point out that none of the countries from which the 9/11 hijackers originated is in the list? What about the fact that none of the countries that would pose an economic problem for your properties or investments made it in the list? Maybe it’s the fact that it was so poorly implemented that DHS agents were literally making up the rules as they went along because they had been provided no guidance? Or I could just make a point about American values, quoting Emma Lazarus as I go?

I just don’t know what to do with this, so I’ll speak briefly. Now that you’re in charge, the details are important. This is not someone putting your name on a golf course or a condo building. There, whether the pool goes on the 17th or 18th floor doesn’t matter. Now, your decisions impact lives around the world. Refugees get left behind and are killed. Brilliant Muslims don’t come here to study or work because they don’t know what the future holds for them in this country. Your decisions need to be carefully considered and thought through. The implications are gravely important. You can’t have government officials making up the rules as they go along. It’s already clear that your order has nothing to do with national security. It’s pure Islamophobia, with a touch of personal greed: 

Our country is one that welcomes immigrants and is a shelter to those in need. It is supposed to be a shining light on a hill for all to see, to be the beacon of what is good and right in this world. We are inclusive and we don’t discriminate on the basis of religion. We aren’t this.  

I keep thinking about the family in Syria who has seen their country torn apart, friends die, everything they know destroyed. The ones who sat in a filthy refugee camp for years while they were screened and vetted. The family who were finally told they had gotten their chance and that there was a home waiting for them in a safe country that accepted all people. That family days away from finally escaping their nightmare, only to be told “no.” 

We are not this. We are better. 


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