Is the Travel Ban unconstitutional?

Most of the American population is aware of what happened on January 27th, 2017. The Trump administration made a bold move banning 7 countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) from traveling to the United States for ‘security’ purposes. This was followed by mass protests across the United States at international airports. The people responded with anger at the administration since refugees, friends and family members were being held at airports and told they were no longer granted access after they went through the process of getting to the United States.  Travel Ban Protests

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This obviously was not the end. In less then 24 hours, this ban became one of the most controversial actions of the Trump administration. Many people throughout our country stated this ban was not only discriminatory but also unconstitutional. Thanks to the checks and balances system of our government, the Judiciary branch immediately challenged the President. Many courts across America blocked sections of the travel ban – their reasoning? Unconstitutional. Many people agreed that banning people violates their Due Process and Equal Protections within the Constitution.

This ban seemed like a rush action that was done for publicity within the President’s first 100 days – which typically is focused upon by the media to see if the President follows through with certain campaign trail promises. Throughout Trumps campaign, he constantly dehumanized the entire population of Muslims and pushed them into one stigmatizing category – terrorists. In Trump’s perception – this ban was going to protect citizens from terrorism but did not think of the consequences that would come out of it. Many innocent people were barred from the United States, even some of our fellow classmates and workers who hold legal green cards. This document lumped an entire population and claimed they were all potentially dangerous. Using this wording is extremely dangerous because it puts a stigma onto an entire group of people who are attempting to make an honest living. British-muslim

As I stated earlier, the judiciary branch began to intervene. After making it’s way through many courts on February 16th, Donald Trump promised to change certain parts of the travel ban in accordance to federal court decisions. On March 6th, the new travel ban was announced. This new list excluded Iraq from the original countries banned but continued to ban refugees and foreign nationals from entering the United States. This is where it escalated really quickly…

US District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii agreed to hear a case against the travel ban, and in the meantime BANNED the ban from being implemented until the case was resolved. The Supreme Court eventually took over this case and on June 26th they ruled that some aspects of the ban could go into affect until they could hear the case. People who were still allowed into the United States from these countries during this time are required to have a visa or a bona-fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. This ban does not even allow you into the United States if you are a grandparent. The Supreme Court is not hearing the case until the fall term though, so the ban might be over before the justices are even given a chance to decide.

So what does this mean for social workers? This ban is dehumanizing. Even the title of the executive order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” is giving the people the idea that Muslim = terrorist. It is giving everyone a false perception of people who are themselves trying to escape war. They are attempting to make their lives better and get the basic needs to live which is a human right. We are  ignoring a humanitarian crisis, and barring people for no legitimate reason. The United States has not experienced a terrorist attack from these foreign nations in 40 years! Most recent terrorism in our country has been caused by our own citizens – which would not have been prevented by this ban if it was in place during those attacks. As social workers, we will be working with and for vulnerable people. This is a very, very scary time for Muslims in this nation as their morality is being questioned by the government. If anything, Muslims in this country have a right to fear for themselves more then we have a right to fear of them. It is social workers responsibility to stand up for social justice. It is an injustice that Muslims are not given the free religious liberties that every other citizen has a right over. The government constantly is discriminating against them based on their religion – which this ban entails. Another value of our profession is competence, and not only for ourselves but spreading knowledge to others. As a profession, we should stand up and fight when we see injustice and hate. Hate crimes are on the rise as we can see in this report: Hate Crimes Against Muslims, which shows the reality of their life. It’s time to work together as a population to realize their is no direct threat in an entire race, ethnicity or religion. It is INDIVIDUALS who decide to spread hate. It is our job to make sure that we are protecting the human rights and religious rights of groups that do not define themselves or their moralities with those individuals.

Highly recommend watching: Travel Ban Explained

For more information on this subject, visit the following links:

Timeline of Travel Ban

CNN: Supreme Court allows part of travel ban to take effect

Supreme Court Document on Travel Ban

 

 

Affirmative Action is necessary and Fisher v. University of Texas proved why

On June 23rd, 2016 the Supreme Court of The United States literally threw out Abigail Fisher’s a young Caucasian woman’s argument that she was rejected from the University of Texas due to her race and ethnicity under affirmative action.

Now, before we get into the this subject. We need an understanding of what affirmative action is. A common misconception of affirmative action is that “it makes it easier for minority students to get into college programs compared to their white-counterparts’. Being a student of color, I have heard this argument multiple times. Affirmative action is not a policy that states “you must x amount of students of each ethnicity” it is a well-designed process that attempts to close the racial-gap that still exists in America until this day. The process first involves reaching out to underrepresented groups at schools in attempts to get them to apply, and once accepted-offering financial assistance and educational assistance such as (EOF-educational opportunity fund) in order to increase educational success. The whole point of the policy is to endorse diversity in the student body since many minorities have been underrepresented in higher education until affirmative action was put in place. Diversity is an important aspect of any educational institution especially since the population of America in generally is a melting-pot.

Here’s a short video to explain affirmative action more: Affirmative Action

Why do we need this policy? America has a long history of racial, social and economic oppression. Due to this, students of lower socioeconomic status have less resources to receive higher education. And who falls under these brackets? Typically minorities. Now this does not automatically “discriminate” against Caucasians since anyone can qualify for need-based assistance (such as EOF) when attaining higher education – affirmative action is just an extra step that attempts to close the gap and allow minorities to be able to have the same opportunities as well. Having this policy in place ensures social equity which is defined as having equal access to social goods and services. Equality is good but it does not take into account all of the years of oppression many minorities have faced in this country, having programs that ensure equity do.

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Arguments against affirmative action: Of course policies such as these are going to be faced with some critics. People who are against affirmative action typically do not understand what it is all about. Arguments tend to have similar themes that affirmative action promotes discrimination when in-fact the whole point of the policy is to prevent discriminatory practices from happening. In the case of Fisher v. the University of Texas, Abigail Fisher laid out a story of how she was victimized by this system. She claimed that this policy discriminated against her and ultimately led to her denial from the university. Fisher claimed that the policy was in violation of the Fourteenth admendment along with the Equal Protection Clause. This is not the first time a case like this has worked it’s way up the courts. There has been other cases that fought against the ‘quotas’ in affirmative action which was proven to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has agreed multiple times though that affirmative action is constitutional as long as it does NOT have quotas, promotes diversity in education and the workplace AND that it’s use is limited. In the case of Fischer v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court Justices ruled 4-3 agaisnt Fisher. Their explanation? The justices explained that educational diversity is important and school’s may have such policies – as long as it is not a quota – to build a diverse body of students that has a concrete and precise goal focused on diversity.

Why is this important to social workers? One of social workers main values in our Code of Ethics is social justice. It is part of our responsibility to fight against policies that further oppress vulnerable individuals. Making sure that affirmative action is protected in the future is something all social workers should fight for. Having this policy in place assists students of disadvantage backgrounds get higher education – many of which we will come across in our work. Making sure our clients have equal access to resources such as education is an important right that every person in the United States should have as an opportunity. It is up to us – and other professions – to make sure that it continues.

For more information on affirmative action and Fisher v The University of Texas please see the following links:

CNN Supreme Court decision

Fisher v University of Texas

Fast Facts on Affirmative Action

Supreme Court Decision

ACLU – Who Supports Affirmative Action