In a shocking move that has divided the nation once again, President Trump issued an executive order and singlehandedly altered America’s immigration policy. Signed on Friday, the order effectively bars Syrian refugee admission for 120 days and all citizens of seven Muslim countries from crossing the US border for 90 days. All in all, CNN reports that more than 218 million people are now being denied access into the country.
In wake of the order, panic and confusion settled across America’s airports as many immigrants became stranded en route and some were even threatened with deportation. In response, protests and other demonstrations against the new policy have already been held, though critics report this is only the beginning of their resistance. In a period so marked with turmoil, opening a dialogue between the various sides has never been more important. In light of this, Fresh U interviewed seven college libertarians about their reactions to the ban.
1. Ethan Gilbreath – UNC Chapel Hill
"The libertarian ideology centers very strongly around the Constitution and the principles of small government. I have been extremely alarmed before Trump took office for his corporatism, invasive and discriminatory policies — especially with regards to his wall and the proposed 'Muslim Registry,' which is totally unconstitutional and 1984-esque. The Muslim Ban was a massive violation of due process and equal protection for American citizens abroad, as well as being generally immoral and discriminatory. It sets a bad precedent, it’s embarrassing for the country and, had it been allowed to stand, would have been the first step for Trump to enact more and more divisive and obstructive policies."
2. Scott Ernest – University of Montana, Bozeman
"I'm torn by this one in many ways. I feel that something needs to be done to make immigration (and refugees) from those nations be safer for the people already here. However, I don't believe this ban is what is best for many reasons, not the least of which is the nations that were chosen for the ban are the ones that have had the least terrorism impact on this country. The notable absences are nations that bred terrorists that have actually harmed us and Europe, such as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This ban is also temporary, hopefully only until this administration is able to up the quality of our vetting. That said, considering the incompetency this administration has already shown. I doubt that would happen."
3. Payton Taylor – Montana State University
"Trump's immigration ban, which includes Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya, has the goal of stopping terrorists from entering the country, which is a reasonable idea. I wouldn't want terrorists to gain entry to America to commit acts of violence. I don't think anyone would. If you look at the text of the order, which can be found on Whitehouse.gov, you'll be able to understand the thought behind it. It isn't weighed down with difficult wording that makes you wonder exactly what is being said, which is a nice thing to see . . . As far as my opinion of this immigration suspension goes I am against it. At its core, I see a reasonable foundation, but the way it has been enacted and some of the issues that have arisen from it, I disagree with. Executive Orders are not a proper representation of the public, and in my opinion, should be used only in times of desperation. Congress can pass the same acts, just not as quickly. With a Republican majority, Trump should have even less of a reason to use Executive Orders. The issues that have arisen have been reported on in the news, people being detained at airports, people who had been in the US legally for a time, and were simply coming back to the States."
4. Charlie Gers – University of Minnesota
"As a Libertarian, one of my core beliefs is the freedom to migrate. As sovereign individuals, we have the right of free mobility and it cannot be restricted unless there is clear evidence that we would violate the rights of others. As Donald Trump assumes the presidency, the individual rights of many groups are at stake. One of these groups is the immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. Trump has announced that he will ban immigrants coming from these seven nations under the false premise of 'national security.' He has also declared that Christian immigrants will get priority over Muslim immigrants, completely dissolving what is left of the separation between church and state. What if for a second you zoom out of the picture and realize that these people are fleeing the same people we are terrified of? What if for a second you zoom out of the picture and realize that our interventionist foreign policy abroad is what is creating refugees? As libertarians, we will fight for the rights of all individuals simply because they are humans; whether you are LGBT, Muslim, immigrant, or whatever it is, you are born with individual rights and we will fight to defend these rights. It is in such dire times that we, as citizens and humans, must stand up and defend each other against an abusive government."
5. Luke DiGiacomo – University of Chapel Hill
"Like abortion, Libertarians are split over the issue of immigration. However, I side with the relatively open border policy. People have the right of association regardless of the line drawn by politicians on maps. Not to mention, the economic benefits of immigration outweighs any other potential issues with it. Immigration is just the free flow of labor and should be subject to market forces. But more than that, almost all terrorists are not immigrants and almost all immigrants are not terrorists. It's the same issue that's plagued populations throughout history — people are too scared of change and always look to terrorism as the scapegoat. After all, we wouldn't now say the Irish are going to ruin the country but that was a very real concern."
6. Sarah Albrite - University of New Mexico
"This immigration ban, I think is really just the same knee-jerk reaction people have had throughout history whenever they feel threatened. Just open a history book, America has feared Irish immigrants, Asian immigrants, etc. This ban is just one more piece of legislation in a long line of anti-immigrant sentiments. For as little as I believe in this immigration ban, I can see what it’s coming from. People are scared and it’s little wonder why. Just turn on the news and all you’ll hear from the Middle East is ISIS or other reports of muslim extremism. It’s been blasted in our faces for years now and while that certainly doesn’t excuse this act, I can understand it. Of course, as a Libertarian, this ban goes against all my principles. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about open border policies and free trade at this point, so I’ll leave that alone. I can only hope this legislation will go the way as all the older immigration policies - just a forgotten page in a history book as we move on together"
7. Zachary Stone - University of Texas at Austin
Banning immigration is perhaps one of the most hypocritical things this country could do but there’s more to opposing this ban than simple patriotism. For, quite simply, this act is illegal is every sense. Sadly, despite America's origins, this country has a history of excluding immigrants for certain countries. However, after the disgusting Asiatic Barred Zone in the 19th century, LBJ passed the Immigration Act of 1965 which banned discrimination against immigrants due to national origin. I may not be a lawyer and clearly there must have been some legal technicalities that allowed Trump to pass this, but in the spirit of the law, this never should have been allowed.
While sentiments across the nation are clearly split regarding this controversial order, remember that change starts with us. This generation must make their opinions heard and take charge of our future. It is only through honest conversation that we can make the important strides towards change - whether it’s a libertarian approach, government reform or something entirely different. It’s up to us.
Lead Image Credit: DVIDSHUB via Flickr Creative Commons