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America – no longer land of the free

America – no longer land of the free

By Garima Agarwal

On July 4th, 1776, thirteen American colonies approved the Declaration of Independence and referred themselves collectively as The United States of America. The declaration, amidst other rights and announcements, contained the sentence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Not only did this sentence become the widest adopted human rights philosophy in the world, but this very sentence stands stark in contrast with the executive order issued by the now government of the same independent country.

America

A visualisation of what Trump’s great wall would look like | Picture Courtesy: CNN

The move sent global shockwaves and is intended to have far-reaching consequences on the much-debated immigration movement which has already grappled Europe in the last two years.

Though the reaction of the move is more emotional than economic, given that the US doesn’t have significant trade ties with the countries in the order, or with their allies, it is still expected to impact the globally deteriorating political scenario. Not only will this provide air to the already hostile situation in those 7 countries, infuriate the globally dispersed immigrants, and anger the people who believe in free movement of labour as a birthright, but would also loosen up or strengthen America’s ties with the nations rejecting or supporting the ban respectively.

For President Trump, who could be a lot of things, but certainly not politically correct, this move is calculated, thought out and makes a lot of business sense.

For President Trump, who could be a lot of things, but certainly not politically correct, this move is calculated, thought out and makes a lot of business sense. Neither does it impact the existing trade relations, nor does it increase America’s cost in totality. All it does is that it reduces the cost that America would have had to incur for employment, insurance and medical facilities of immigrants and their displaced families, and/or of any potential terror threats. Cutting down on unnecessary costs, or laying off employees is the first step CEO’s take to revive a dormant company, which is exactly what is happening here. To put in context the minuscule impact, thanks to the exhaustive vetting process already in place, only 0.003% of the total number of Syrian refugees got accepted in the US over the last 6 years. This is what happens when a Government which is fundamentally a non-profit making enterprise is run by a billionaire businessman.

Interestingly, the Make America Great Again campaign specifically talked about imposing such a ban, so the move isn’t altogether a surprise.

The surprise here, however, is a political party holding its campaign promise, which we are usually not accustomed to witnessing.

The move also sent a strong message that President Trump intends to ‘do what he says he will’. That being said, had he or had he not executed his political promises, the culprit in both cases would have been the same.

The order, however, on a more sombre level, is also expected to spark a mutiny on the grounds of religion and communalism. The fact that we as a planet are not able to alienate the said religion or the nationality with terrorism makes us fire empty rounds at innocent people. The land of opportunity cannot be the land of privilege as the very basic principle of a capitalistic democracy. If it is, there’s a fundamental flaw in the system – either in the people who are governed or in the people who govern it. America, which has imposed similar bans 6 times already, is no different from some nations in Central and Western Europe which ardently refused displaced refugees last year.

America

Trump has been anti-immigration since day one | Picture Courtesy: CNN

In a world where effort is lauded more than the outcome, where effort can be controlled more than the outcome, this is the best the American government could come up with in terms of effort; not realising, that the people from whom it faces terror are all related to the people whom it is attempting to protect.

Statistics states that correlation is not similar to causation.

Statistics states that correlation is not similar to causation. Just because there is a high correlation between a religion and global terrorism, it doesn’t mean one is caused by the other. Nobody chooses their places of birth, and the label ‘immigrant’ cannot surpass everything else that a human is. It would have been better to strengthen the vetting, given that technology can now help Governments to do things which were earlier not possible. But for President Trump, who made an astounding career out of ‘You’re fired’, this seems the only binary thing to do. It is really difficult to segregate business and politics here, especially when a businessman turned politician is running a political office turned business.

Time would be a better judge of the effects of the order, and even though there are 90 days to gauge them, the world has demonstrated better in the last 24 hours.


Garima Agarwal is currently working on launching a healthcare venture. She has worked with Sequoia Capital and India Value Fund Advisors previously.
Featured Image Source: Cafferty File – CNN
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