In this climate of political tension, it is crucial that we as a nation uphold our constitutional values of freedom, liberty, and opportunity. This is the only way we can ensure that all of our rights will be preserved and that America will continue to serve as a beacon of hope for the world.
President Trump’s views on immigration infringe on fundamental constitutional tenets, including the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries—Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen—falls under this category. He denies that the ban is religiously motivated, yet the seven countries listed under the travel ban are majority Muslim countries. Thus, Trump’s executive order was intended to explicitly target Muslims.
Furthermore, there is Trump’s rhetoric of mass deportations of undocumented immigrants. If he were to truly follow through with this, he would be in clear violation of the Sixth Amendment. It is wrong to argue that undocumented immigrants are not protected by the Constitution, as the Fourteenth Amendment establishes that within U.S. territory, non-citizens enjoy the same rights guaranteed to American citizens. Allowing the Trump administration to follow through on these actions would be a danger that everybody, regardless of ideological alignment, should be worried about.
Additionally, Trump’s refugee ban opposes American values. It should be our responsibility to take the lead and help others, even if it may seem unfair that some countries are not pulling their weight. However, we should not justify turning down those in need by comparing ourselves to others. Admitting more refugees is especially important at the moment, since many European countries seem to be backing away. America has a long history of forging ahead when others would not. We must not stray from this.
This recent erosion of constitutional values will not stop at an immigration ban. It sets a very dangerous precedent that our guaranteed rights can be ignored at the whims of a presidency. This endangers everyone, including many at PHS. Non-citizens might be next in the Trump administration’s crosshairs. The disabled may be as well, especially considering that there is now an education secretary who has proven herself to be unaware of federal protection for disabled students and their rights. If this administration is not watched closely, we can expect for our rights to be infringed further. Thus, we must stay alert for any negative developments. We must engage in conversation, sharing viewpoints and spreading awareness. Most importantly, we must speak out when we see our values being ignored. Only then can we uphold American values so integral to our democratic society and have pride in ourselves as a global role model for others to follow just as proudly.