By David L. Phillips*/
The Trump administration insists its immigration and refugee policy will make America safe. However, Trump’s thinly veiled racist and Islmaphobic policies will have the exact opposite effect: intensifying radicalization, inviting attacks against the United States, and undermining the campaign against the Islamic State.Trump’s policy is based on wrong information.Trump banned nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen. But there has never been a terrorist attack by a national from these countries in the United States.The policy puts Americans at-risk.
The executive action will be used as a recruitment tool, summoning jihadis to battle, and risking hard-fought gains in Iraq and Syria. Extremists will use the order as proof that the US is at war with Islam. US citizens and interests may also be targeted.Banning travel by Iraqis is vexing, and totally inconsistent with the US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.It undermines Trump’s plan to work with “coalition partners” to defeat ISIS, straining relations with an ally the US needs to defeat ISIS and liberate Mosul.The executive action betrays Iraqis who put their lives on the line serving as translators and fixers for the US military.
It compounds confusion created by Trump’s comments at the CIA last week, asserting that the US should have “kept” Iraq’s oil.
It emboldens America’s detractors. Moktadar al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric, has demanded the expulsion of US troops from Iraq.
Though Iraqi Kurdistan has de-facto independence, Iraqi Kurds still travel using Iraqi passports. Banning their travel is insulting to the few real friends we have in Iraq.
The executive order tarnishes America’s reputation. Refugees and migrant want to resettle in America because they see it as a shining city on a hill. America’s openness and freedoms are its greatest appeal. Trump’s ban casts doubt.
The US is respected for its “can do” attitude. However, the chaos arising from Trump’s executive action makes the Trump administration look incompetent, giving ammunition to our critics and sewing doubt among our friends.
Trump is accused of a double standard. Muslim-majority countries where the Trump organization does business were exempted, fueling ethics concerns.
Expect an attack on US soil. The Trump administration will react by extending the ban or by making it permanent. Institutionalizing Islamophobia risks a spiral of deadly violence.
David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He served as a senior adviser and foreign affairs expert to the US State Department under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama.( Huffington Post)
* Director, Program on Peace-building and Rights, Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University