War Prevention Initiative Considers Executive Order Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. Inhumane, Misguided and Counterproductive

War Prevention Initiative Considers Executive Order Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. Inhumane, Misguided and Counterproductive     


Monday, January 30 2017

PORTLAND, OR – Citing concerns over national security and the threat of terrorism, President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 27, 2017, indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days and imposing a 90 day ban of immigrants and nonimmigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

This is a blanket suspicion for 205 million people. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced Donald Trump’s ban on U.S. travel from several Muslim-majority countries, claiming the executive order was “mean-spirited, and wastes resources needed for proper counter-terrorism” and illegal under international human rights law.

“The abstract horrors of such a ban, which has been announced throughout the electoral campaign through inciting rhetoric, became very real when news spread about detentions at U.S. airports,” said Patrick Hiller, Executive Director of the War Prevention Initiative. “For those of us who use our skills and expertise to work for a more just and peaceful world, the implementation of this order sent shockwaves through our bodies. We recognize an utter lack of compassion with those who suffer most from the horrors of war and persecution, we recognize the rejection of American core values and we consider such a ban absolutely counter-productive.”

The global refugee crisis emerging from the Middle East and North Africa is primarily rooted in wars and conflicts caused by historical and current Western policies toward the region and its people. The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said that the suspension of U.S. refugee resettlement endangers people fleeing war zones. Except for Iran, the countries affected by the ban are among the ten least peaceful countries in the world, according to the 2016 Global Peace Index. The refugees are not faceless masses, but individuals and families whose lives have been uprooted and who are displaced from their homes, often forever. They are direct victims of conflicts and wars. As such, they are fellow humans who were affected by loss of loved ones, destruction of homes and infrastructure, the use of depleted uranium, malnutrition, diseases, lawlessness, persecution, intra-state killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence and large-scale social injustices. Turning our back on them is not compatible with a compassionate view of all humans regardless of origin, religion or race.

If the goal of this Executive Order is to protect the United States against terrorism, then it is a highly misguided way to achieve it. The ban on immigrants does not address the national origins of any terrorist attackers on U.S. soil, including the 9/11 attackers. Daniel Benjamin, former State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator, noted that “the jihadist threat in the United States has turned out to be largely homegrown”, and the order “will encourage precisely the resentments and anxieties on the part of Muslims that fuel, in rare cases, support for the ideology of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda.” Apart from the affronts to American and human values, the Executive Order will fail at granting the security that the President promises. Experts say that by targeting Muslims, the Executive Order will provide ISIS and like organizations with a renewed wave of recruits by playing into their beliefs that the West is at war with Islam. The Executive Order will also jeopardize the western militaries and diplomats in the region, the same people Trump claims to be championing.

Instead of inhumane, misguided and counter-productive responses to terrorism, the War Prevention Initiative is part of a community of experts who rely on best practices and scientific insights into providing numerous viable measures to transform terrorism. Immediate approaches rely on national and international law enforcement and judicial processes for individuals and groups involved in acts of terror, while long-term measures aimed at structural prevention address terrorism at its roots as a political, social and cultural problem.

It is for this reason that we strongly condemn the Executive Order and continue to advocate for politics of inclusion and common security of all humans.


For further comment or questions, please contact Patrick Hiller, War Prevention Initiative’s Executive Director at patrick@jubitz.org or 503 505-5721.