We’re all immigrants here
Shaylyn McMahon, NEWS COLUMNIST
When people ask me what my heritage is, I proudly list off Irish, Ukrainian and Swedish.
I don’t hesitate to divulge further, making jokes about the stereotypes that align with the countries from which my great-grandparents immigrated to Canada.
“You won’t see me with an empty beer glass!” I’ll joke, playing on the stereotype that Irish people love to drink. Or, “I’ve grown up pinching perogies!” referring to a staple in the Ukrainian diet.
I don’t hesitate, because there aren’t many negative assumptions associated with my heritage.
If only this were true for the 90,000 people affected by Donald Trump’s travel ban.
If you haven’t heard by now, on Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya — from entering the U.S. for 90 days. He also indefinitely suspended accepting Syrian refugees to the U.S. and stopped the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days.
Although the ban is currently suspended, its initial approval has dire consequences.
The ban is part of Trump’s efforts to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the U.S., but what about the innocent family fleeing war or the university student who moved to the U.S. for a better future?
According to research from New America, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., none of the 9/11 terrorists came from any of the banned countries, nor did any of the terrorists involved in the 12 jihadist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.
Despite this, more than 90,000 people are being punished for the acts of people they’ve probably never heard of. This isn’t okay.
I’m not saying there isn’t a need for high security screening for potential immigrants, but an outright ban sends the wrong message to people around the world. It reaffirms negative stereotypes about all Muslims, which is not fair, nor true.
The U.S. and Canada were built from immigrants and people searching for a better life years ago, which is no different than Muslims and other immigrants seeking a better life now.
Plus, if Trump is so unsure about the importance of immigration, why doesn’t he just ask his wife?
Shaylyn McMahon is an aspiring communications professional,
an avid coffee drinker and a wannabe world explorer.
She’d rather be cuddling her cat at any given moment,
and if you can’t see her, you can probably hear her laugh.
Follow her on Twitter @ShaylynMcMahon.