In the late 1880s, China was facing civil rebellions, economic decline and what would soon lead to one of Asia's greatest empires. Thousands of Chinese immigrated to America and settled along the Pacific Coast and they were looking for the American Dream, getting equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work. They were viewed as job stealers, criminals and a threat to current American life. In response, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Now today, Latin Americans are trying to flee war and economic strife and Arabs are trying to flee one of the biggest wars of the 21st century and in one of the biggest refugee crisis’ of human history. Immigrants from all of these places are seeking a better life for themselves but they are viewed today by the public the same way as the Chinese were in the 1880s. Now our President, Donald Trump, wants to build a wall, deport millions and ban any Muslims from entering our country. We must look back in time and we must not repeat one of the worst things in our countries time.
Our current President, Trump signed an executive order for a “Muslim ban” which bars citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for a period of 90 days. This ban not only prevents refugees from seeking asylum in our country, but it also prevents some American citizens who travelled abroad from returning. Trump believes that this ban will help “eradicate radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the Earth” and stop attacks like those that hit Paris and San Bernardino from happening again. However these plans are based off false ideas. It’s more likely that a deadly attack will be carried out by someone born and raised in America than an immigrant as emphasized here that “nationals of the seven countries singled out by Trump have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and 2015”. With the millions of Muslims in the world there is so little chance that those coming to America will be radicalized. Plus, the vetting process put in place by President Obama is already some of the strictest in the world. So overall there isn’t any true evidence for why this Muslim ban will help keep crime and terrorism out of the U.S. besides our politicians fearing these innocent people based on societal labels and past history.
America was built on acceptance and the Muslim ban and fierce discrimination against refugees and immigrants does not foster that idea. We need to make sure we are moving forward and make sure that we can live without the fear of future. As a 13 year old, I have grown up and have seen how deeply rooted America’s labels are and we can’t move forward if people still believe that all Muslims are “radical Islamic terrorists” or Latin Americans as “bad hombres.” Going back in time to the Gilded Age which was full of fear, greed and unequal power is making our nation more dangerous and by giving immigrants unequal opportunities to succeed we can build bridges between foreign countries, not walls nor deniance. We should rethink our values and foster the ways of the American dream and try to make an America that protects, values and accepts people of all ethnicities, race and religion.