THE BLOG
01/26/2017 02:32 pm ET

The American Dream Or The American Nightmare?

This is a call to your conscience. I am writing about the "Muslim ban," as people are calling it.

My great-grandparents migrated to the United States from Italy. They came through Ellis Island, New York City, the famous 19th and 20th century entry point to the "American Dream." Vinzenzo Tedesco arrived on April 26th, 1910. His wife, Filomena, arrived in New York City sometime in 1908. They came to America to escape poverty. They came to have a roof over their heads. They came for enough work to earn a small income to feed their bellies and their children. They embraced the hard reality of migrating to a country a thousand miles away. America offered them a better life. They lived the American Dream in a land of unlimited potentials.

Across from Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, stands the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty's torch represents freedom, enlightenment and hope. "America is a beacon of liberty to the world." That is what Lady Liberty might say if she could speak. There are several phrases associated with this monument, the most recognizable is "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." I think about what the Statue represented to my great-grandparents, and whether they viewed America in an egalitarian light. I am confident they did.

If the Statue of Liberty represents the American Dream, Donald Trump represents the American Nightmare. Today, Trump is expected to order a ban on immigrants from Muslim majority countries including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. In addition, he is set to sign other domestic immigration reforms that will include targeting sanctuary cities that decline to prosecute undocumented human beings. Make no mistake about it - the "Muslim ban" targets Muslims and Muslim-majority countries for the simple fact that they are linked to Islam.

Donald Trump rose to power through fear and hate. He painted, and still paints, Muslims as uncivilized. This is absolutely bogus. Muslims are just regular folks who want to raise their children in peace. Many of them are running from a bad and even desperate situation. These people either die in their homes or they migrate elsewhere to start all over. Imagine that. Imagine abandoning everything. Would you slam the door on these human beings?

The "Muslim ban" is not about security. This is about Islamophobia, plain and simple. If Trump cared about security, he would focus on right-wing extremists already living on American soil. Let us consider some facts. In the fourteen years since 9/11, at least 48 people have been killed by right-wing extremists - almost twice as many as were killed by self-identified jihadists (see study carried out by the New American Foundation for details). If only facts mattered to Trump and his Administration!

Donald Trump is making America more like her foes. Isolated. Closed-minded. Intolerant. Paranoid. Oppressive. America is supposed to be different!

In the words of George Washington, the first President of the United States: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respected stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions."

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