Trump refugee ban causes global turmoil

In an increasingly interconnected world, the US needs the world as much as the world needs the US.

Donald Trump’s executive order issued on Friday barring migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and a ban on refugees has caused such chaos that the US was reeling for a couple of days until a federal judge issued an emergency stay which comes as a ray of hope to many. The class action lawsuit, brought by American Civil Liberties Union and other activists, promises more than a temporary halt to the madness even as it comes to the rescue in the nick of time for people detained in airports. The US had not been discriminating in immigration based on national origin for decades but the new President turned all that upside down in the name of national security. It is a moot point whether extreme border controls will bring the desired results in a nation that has been beset most recently by terror acts unleashed by citizens living for long in the US.

In an increasingly interconnected world, the US needs the world as much as the world needs the US. And it is not just trade that links the “global village” the world is becoming. The new White House occupant doesn’t seem to think so as seen in just his first few decisions in a week in office, which are potentially isolationist. The mayhem created in the wake of the Friday order saw people being stopped in the streets and asked about their nationality and their presence in the US, as it happened to the Indian-origin lady who has been living in the US for 30 years and who inspired Shah Rukh Khan’s Swades. The lot of green card holders who may have returned to the countries of their origin on holiday or work could face an uncertain return unless the stay order has come to the rescue of everyone who could be stopped by immigration authorities.

The Indian-origin CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, heading two of the world’s most valuable companies, expressed their concerns over the bewildering changes in policy Mr Trump has brought about, which are in keeping with what he was promising to do in the US’ most divisive campaign ever for the right to lead the nation. The H-1B visa programme for highly skilled workers, which has helped the $50 billion Indian IT industry flourish in a symbiotic relationship with the best US companies like Microsoft, Google and Intel might be under threat too as modifications are in the pipeline. The immigration policy changes are so disruptive in their sweep that they threaten the profitability of US companies too.

It is clear that the leader of the free world has been trapped in rightist populism, which could not only pose a threat to US businesses, but also when measured against the fundamental principles of humanitarianism. It appears the US’ perennial fight is expanding from a legitimate battle against Islamist terrorism to a fight against Islam itself. Ironically, the most stress now is being caused to people with a right to be in the US. Mr Trump declared that “the world is a mess”. Some introspection might reveal that he is the one who is making it worse.

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