National Nurses United has joined with humanitarian and civil rights groups in opposing the US executive order to ban refugees, especially Muslim refugees, from entering the United States. National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members across every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history. Here they explain why they oppose the ban.
What the ban does
The ban bars all refugees for at least four months — and indefinitely longer for refugees from wartorn Syria. It bars for three months all entrants, some 218 million people, from seven predominantly Muslim nations — Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and directs the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a review, which could add other countries to the ban. Long-term US residents, including medical professionals, have also been blocked by the ban.
Why is this called a Muslim ban?
President Trump directs DHS to prioritise asylum for Christians and other non-Muslim minorities, claiming Christians have been treated unfairly by US refugee policy. However, since 2001, the United States has accepted nearly 400,000 Christian refugees and 279,000 Muslim refugees. Most victims of extremist violence in the Middle East are Muslim.
Why NNU opposes the ban
- Nurses are advocates for relief of human suffering. The civilian death toll from the brutal civil war in Syria alone is now believed to be nearly 500,000, many of them children. Slamming the door on refugees is antithetical to the mission of nursing.
- No one from any of the seven nations cited by the ban have committed any attacks in the US, nearly all were committed by native-born Americans. In announcing the executive order, President Trump cited the attacks of September 11, 2001 and San Bernardino. Yet none of those attackers were from any of the seven countries listed.
- There is no evidence that the ban will make the US safer. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, among many others, have warned it will only put more Americans at risk by fuelling a narrative of a US war against Islam. ISIS is already using the ban as a recruiting tool.
- The United States is a nation of immigrants. Yet there is a troubled history of rejecting refugees and immigrants, including the racially motivated Chinese Exclusion Act and the rejection of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism in World War II. Since then, the U.S. has welcomed many refugees fleeing authoritarian regimes, we should not be slamming the door today on people and families in crisis.
Thank you to National Nurse United for this article.
Previously on Nurse Uncut: