The Travel Ban and the Administration’s Contempt for the Iranian People
Jason Rezaian responds to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Hawaii:
For Iranian Americans, that sounds about right. They have worked hard for decades to become one of the most well-integrated and successful immigrant communities in this country, both in terms of education and income. The travel ban is merely the latest confirmation of a grim realization: We aren’t wanted here. How could we be, if our relatives are viewed solely as security risks?
If you look at the numbers, Trump’s travel ban could be described more accurately as an “Iran ban.” Of the total of those likely to be affected, Iranians make up the majority.
The inclusion of Iran on this list has always seemed the least defensible, most vindictive part of an irrational and cruel policy. Not only is the ban an insult to the Iranian people, but it is also a burden on Iranian-American citizens and their families. The Trump administration often offers empty words of encouragement to the Iranian people, but in practice bars them from coming here and views them as potential threats. The U.S. government claims to distinguish between the regime and the people in Iran, but it penalizes the latter for the activities of the former under a specious national security justification. In addition to the harm done to Iranian-Americans and their families, the ban significantly damages how the U.S. is perceived in Iran and around the world.
The travel ban conveys the Trump administration’s undisguised contempt for the people of Iran. That is the message that the U.S. is sending with this policy, and the Court just upheld it. The administration is alienating whole new generations of Iranians and giving the Iranian government easy propaganda victories, and all for the sake of guarding against a non-existent threat. Iranian nationals don’t pose a threat to the U.S., and barring them from coming won’t make the U.S. one iota safer. Combined with other destructive and punitive measures aimed at the country, the ban will tend to boost the fortunes of Iranian hard-liners, diminish the opportunities for political reform, and deprive Iranian dissidents and activists of the chance to find refuge in the U.S.