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The Seven Deadly Nations - Understanding Why President Trump Banned Immigration

Updated on February 1, 2017
RJ Schwartz profile image

I'm on the right side of politics and enjoy a good debate on government, the economy, and the rights of the people.

President Trump’s Executive Order banning entry into the United States by citizens of seven nations has been nothing short of a media meltdown on a global scale. Protesting, legal challenges, and in some cases violence has been reportedly connected to the Executive Order. The President has determined that citizens of those seven nations are a direct security threat to America and American citizens and has temporarily blocked them from entering America for ninety days. The nations were not chosen at random and have been considered high-risk nations due to state sponsored terrorism dating back to the Obama Administration. The State Department and Homeland Security under President Obama made the list and there is already bi-partisan legislation in place limiting visas; President Trump picked up where former President Obama left off and enacted a firmer policy.

Anti-Trump Media Spin

The policy is being heavily spun as a Muslim ban, yet the seven nations – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and the Sudan – are mostly small in comparison when we compare them to global Muslim population centers. The entire focus of the media seems to be on religion while glossing over the histories of the nations which are being banned. The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have been monitoring these nations for decades with the support of all the national intelligence agencies and the bans are long overdue. Another belief is that the bans don’t go far enough and should be permanent and other sanctions added.

The Republic of Sudan

The Republic of Sudan is led by a hard line dictator named Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Bashir seized power in a military coup in 1989 and has ruled without impunity for over 25 years. The nation has been in a near-state of civil war for several decades and nearly 2 million people have been killed as a result. Millions of refugees have fled the country to escape the violence. Bashir is currently wanted for war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity, dating back for many years. As a nation, Sudan has been on the list of state sponsored terrorism since August of 1993 and under diplomatic sanctions by the United Nations since 1996. One of the notable links to terrorism came in the early 1990’s when Osama Bin Laden came to Sudan and set up a training camp infrastructure for terrorist training. The nation was politically aligned with Iran up until recently. Sharia law has been in place since the 90’s and Bashir has a personal body guard that have been described as stormtroopers with a penchant for cruelty and scorched-earth tactics. The future of the Sudan is very questionable and many think Bashir will be overthrown by someone even worse.

U.S.S. Cole Damaged in Terrorist Attack
U.S.S. Cole Damaged in Terrorist Attack

Yemen

Yemen is another nation supporting state sponsored terrorism. Another nation that seems to always be embroiled in civil war, Yemen is the battleground for a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The legitimate government, led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to resign with his entire government in 2015 by Houthi rebels who now control the nation. The cities are controlled by the rebels and the wilderness by al-Qaeda. The U.S. government at one time considered Yemen a partner in the global war on terrorism. Reports of starving citizens while war rages on are constant reminders of the terrible conditions Yemeni people must deal with daily. Terrorist attacks have been a part of the Yemeni landscape for decades; one particular incident, the bombing of the USS Cole and the loss of 17 Americans in 2000 still weighs heavily. Al-Qaeda terror in the early part of the 2000’s, Houthi insurgencies, and political upheaval makes Yemen one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Libya

Libya is a nation without a functional government. After the 2011 revolution and the overthrow of former dictator Muammer Gaddafi, wave after wave of people fled the dying nation. Foreign influences are complicating any efforts to re-establish a working central government. ISIS is a real problem in Libya as well as other militant groups including Libya Dawn. The State Department has recommended no American citizen stay in Libya since 2014 when we shuttered our embassy in Tripoli. Regular gun battles erupt on the streets, military checkpoints are everywhere, and most airports are closed. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests. Threats against U.S. citizens may include murder or kidnapping. ISIS claimed responsibility for two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Tripoli in September 2016. Estimates are that there are at least 1,700 armed groups operating in Libya. In ISIS controlled areas of Libya, strict Sharia law is followed and there are crucifixions and beheadings of non-Muslims. The nation, which has large oil reserves, is unable to produce enough crude to generate funding for basic human services such as hospitals or banking.

Iran

Iran has a long history of terrorism and they are no friend to America. Former President Barack Obama sought to bring America and Iran together diplomatically yet his methodology was flawed and he ended up alienating other American allies in the process. By offering Iran a nuclear agreement, Obama angered many people in the diplomatic community and when he offered huge concessions to Tehran, both Democrats and Republicans were in opposition. In return for the Obama gift, Iran doubled its efforts to cause chaos with their neighbors; now flush with illicit cash from Obama. Lawmakers wanted to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities to limit their abilities to cause global terrorism, but Obama overrode them and handed the Iranians everything they wanted. Sanctions were lifted and now Iran is building arms and equipment.

Iraq

Iraq is another nation with a storied history involving terrorism and their government is considered one of the most corrupt in the world. Poor public safety and security in society, almost no trust in other citizens, an exploding homicide rate, and a high level of violent crime and the potential for terrorist acts, Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. Despite being one of the world’s richest nations due to oil exports, Iraq has a history of trouble and war. Iraq elected Saddam Hussein as President in 1979 and the country immediately went to war with Iran, lasting until 1988. Only a few years later, Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait, triggering the first Gulf War and U.S. involvement. The humiliating defeat saw the death of Hussein, a full complement of international sanctions, and a demoralized populace. The nation quickly descended into chaos and internal battles rage daily, killing hundreds of people monthly. Al-Qaeda plays a key role in the violence as well as ISIS.

Somali Soldier in Puntland
Somali Soldier in Puntland

Somalia

Somalia government is also ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt; in fact they currently hold the top spot and have held that spot for ten straight years. The nation is home to the Islamist militant group called al-Shabab. This group has been fighting both the UN-backed government in Somalia and has carried out a successive string of attacks in neighboring Kenya. The group is allied to al-Qaeda.

Al-Shabab means “The Youth” in Arabic. They originated as a radical youth wing of Somalia's now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006. They are known for attracting foreign jihadists and their numbers are estimated between 7-9,000 combatants. One of the biggest issues and one that keeps conflict high is that Al-Shabab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most native Somalis are Sufis. Somalia is also under strict Sharia Law. Many Americans remember the “Black Hawk Down” incident in which Mogadishu was a war zone. Despite the fact that Somalia is poor, weak, and has unguarded borders, it’s considered a global threat because terrorists can enter without visas and operate at will due to the lack of any real law enforcement.

Bombing has left many Syrian cities in ruins
Bombing has left many Syrian cities in ruins

Syria

The final country on the list is Syria, the home of ISIS. The current civil war is regarded as one of the worst conflicts in world history and shows no sign of ending anytime soon, with over a quarter of a million casualties. What many people don’t know is how this bloody conflict began. In 2011, 15 school children were arrested and reportedly tortured in the city of Deraa for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall. The local population started protesting the heavy-handed treatment of children. The government response was to call out the military, where they opened fire on the protests, killing 4 people. The following day, the military opened fire at one of the funerals, killing another person. This triggered off protests which rapidly spread across the nation. Citizens began demanding that President Bashar al-Assad resign from office, which they hoped would allow for more freedoms and true democracy. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and the number of clashes between the government and other groups grew exponentially. Estimates are that there are over 100,000 fighters in Syria representing more than 1,000 groups which oppose Assad’s government. In 2014, ISIS started taking over large tracts of land which escalated the civil war to three fronts. Several major global powers intervened militarily, making matters worse. The civilian population has been fleeing the nation since the conflicts began. Reports that Assad used chemical weapons were confirmed several years ago. The conflict seems to be a stalemate currently with regular back and forth battles and changing territories, but no victory for any of the groups involved. Terrorists are moving across the globe disguised as refugees from the war-torn nation.

Summary

As the facts show, the seven countries under the temporary ban are on the list for reasons other than the religious affiliation of their citizens. No one will argue the fact that much of the violence is tied to extremism but regardless of the connection, it’s the violence against civilians, the lawlessness, and the abuses to civilians that are what’s driving the President’s decision. When we look at the facts instead of the political rhetoric, it’s obvious that President Trump made the right choice; a choice that will benefit all Americans.

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  • RJ Schwartz profile image
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    Ralph Schwartz 10 days ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    If the drive-by media was anything other than paid talking heads, they might actually see value in reporting facts instead of propaganda - imagine how many people would flock to watch a real unbiased and fact-based news report? I imagine it would change the face of news outlets everywhere......but there is little chance of that happening

  • kurtreifschneider profile image

    Kurt James 11 days ago from Loveland Colorado

    Thanks Ralph for writing an article that gives the reasons for such a ban and not full of political BS. If only the drive by media would take a lesson from you, the USA would be a much better place.

  • FitnezzJim profile image

    FitnezzJim 9 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    "Proof about atrocities in those nations is what I intended to show, which I did."

    And ... the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security came to that conclusion during the Obama administration. They created their lists under US Code (and statutes, regulations, and other additional bureaucratic rules) that were also created under prior administrations. This is a United States thing, not a “current president” thing.

    That said, divisiveness and resultant chaos is the consequence when misunderstandings are perpetuated. So this is expected, any number of groups have openly announced that they will in no way support any action of the new administration. It leads me to believe there is a mastermind manipulator somewhere who is guided by the principle “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Why else perpetuate the lie?

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 9 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I'm still not understanding why you think my work needs a "fairness" approach - when you can convince the entire world media to report everything "fair" then come back and we'll chat.

    Secondly - I don't remember writing it to address "your points"

    Proof about atrocities in those nations is what I intended to show, which I did

  • enjoy life profile image

    enjoy life 9 months ago from Europe

    RJ maybe stop writing off everything you disagree with as Left. You clearly are interested in my political opinions because you've declared me leftish multiple times now. Saying something is 'left' doesn't not automatically prove it is false and wrong. If it does in your mind, then your definition of right and wrong needs reexamining. My point is, that your article is a highly biased presentation, as it does not present a comparison. it is no coincidence that Trump banned nations he had no affiliation with personally. You recommended I read this hub on one of your questions, as you tried to justify your point against my point. Your hub does not actually answer the point you were defending against. My point was that Trump only banned nations he had no connection with. Therefore, your article does not answer my points it only points to why maybe these nation are a problem, but does not indicate why they were 'the only' 7 banned, nor doesn't it prove they are the worst nations and therefore should top the banned list. Why were nations which also have these traits, but were affiliated with Trumps business also not banned? Clearly you have no answer to this as you keep avoiding it

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
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    Ralph Schwartz 9 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Enjoy Life - I'm not interested in trying to determine your political affiliation, only noting that you are working a leftist talking point, and working it hard. If you're actually from Europe then you should be able to see firsthand the destruction caused by people from those seven nations. The premise of this article is not to review every nation in the world and create a chart of comparisons. It was written to show people who might otherwise be uninformed of the atrocities happening in those countries. It was never intended to show balance nor will I sink down to your demands and present it so. Perhaps you might write a hub of your own, doing your own research, showing the side of the argument you seem to be clinging to. The banned nations are festering sores on the rest of the world and I'm in agreement with the President on following up the prior legislation with his temporary ban.

  • FitnezzJim profile image

    FitnezzJim 9 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    1) Trump did not make the lists.

    2) The lists were made by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration.

    3) Referring to the lists as "lists made by Trump" is a misunderstanding of how the lists evolved.

  • enjoy life profile image

    enjoy life 9 months ago from Europe

    As stated in the question we are both talking in, it's interesting that Trumps ban only selected countries that he does not have business interests in, and before you accuse me of being left (in an attempt to brush off my point), let me assure you I am not left. I lean more toward republican, but I believe Trump is a danger to freedom and democracy.

    So, my point.... regardless of the claims you make in this hub about those seven nations, why have you not compared them to other countries that Trump did not ban? This hub is therefore highly selective in its presentation in order to justify Trump's actions. Let's see some balance. These are not the only seven nations with the things you mention in your hub, however, they are the seven that have these issues, that are also not where Trump has business interests. If you want to present balance please examine all the countries that Trump has business interests in and prove that none of them should have been included in the ban, by proving that the elements that should cause a country to be banned are not present in those nations too

  • FitnezzJim profile image

    FitnezzJim 9 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    Thanks, I was looking for a link on state.gov or on dhs.gov. The article you mention gave enough information to find both. I did a search on “restrictions for Visa Waiver Program travel.” The resultant list is provided in sentence form at the link to travel.state.gov, the top link on my list. The discussion of the DHS periodic review update is at the dhs.gov link, which was second on my list.

    After reading these, it looks the administration signed into law a list of countries subject to visa restrictions in 2015, and the first list was updated under that same law in 2016. In 2017, Trump came along and essentially said “enforce that law”, but forgot to thank Obama for making a sensible and relatively short list.

    I will offer my opinion that the countries on the three country list maintained by the State Department are the higher risk, and note that Iraq is no longer on that list.

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 9 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Jim - The "Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015," President Obama signed the bill into law in December 2015, it was attached as a rider on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, an omnibus spending bill. Here's a nice read to navigate through the complexities.

    https://sethfrantzman.com/2017/01/28/obamas-admini...

  • profile image

    Setank Setunk 9 months ago

    We should all appreciate the legitimate arguments for and against this policy. What I find refreshing is discourse over political action rather than political vacillation. 8 Years of ideological impotence has habituated people to a policy of idleness and endless ideological debate.

  • FitnezzJim profile image

    FitnezzJim 9 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

    Ralph? I've been really struggling to find any government source, or even combination of government sources, that specifically identifies those seven countries.

    Syria is the only one that is specifically named in the executive order. The order references a law “217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12)”, which specifically names Iraq. That reference, in turn, hints at several United States Codes that indicate a regularly reviewed State Department process and Homeland Security process that updates the lists. Currently, the State Departments list at https://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm indicates Sudan, Iran and Syria. (but not Iraq)

    I could not find the Homeland Security Department list.

    What is the public law reference invoked by the executive order that puts Yemen, Somalia, and Libya on the list? And, where did that list come from?

  • zaton profile image

    Zaton-Taran 9 months ago from California

    This was a good, informative read - thanks for taking the time. I disagree with your conclusion; but it may be a small disagreement - we shall see: one could argue that the situation you described above is precisely why we should allow members of the civilian populace in as a refugees. the situation in their home countries are absolutely horrid! I think there's a different reason why the ban was instituted - and it makes sense to me: to avoid a significant alteration of the "culture" of the US. Of course, we must vet incoming immigrants of any nationality or religion; but frankly, Muslims tend not to assimilate. This doesn't really go for other groups of people, since if they're not Christian, their religion rarely seems to be in diametric opposition to the it. I understand the ban.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 9 months ago

    You know I disagree with you on a lot of things, but I'm with you on this one, Ralph. What people don't seem to understand is that these countries pose a threat because of their governments or lack thereof. Both presidents Obama and Trump acted legally under Pub. L. No. 414 of 1952. Look it up if you haven't already. I won't follow Trump to the ends of the earth, but I think my own party is just asking for trouble on this one.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 9 months ago

    President Trump is acting in the best interests of the nation. It has been a long time since anyone has done that. We are living in very dangerous time. It is time to act smart and do the right thing.

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 9 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    I didn't hear any opposition from you when any previous president limited immigration from any nation - the list President Trump is using came directly from what the previous president was using and it's endorsed by all of our intelligence agencies. Seems a bit partisan to demonize his temporary actions - it's long overdue.

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 9 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    I disagree with the procedure. We do check on immigrants - extensively. Just ask one of those folks what they had to go through to get a visa? And I do have some of them living next to me, going to my church, working in the places I shop.

    People who didn't see who Trump was during the election are not going to admit what everyone else sees now that he is in office. It's obvious that what he is doing is right? In what alternate universe?

  • RJ Schwartz profile image
    Author

    Ralph Schwartz 9 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Seems as if you disagree with the list of nations that are temporarily banned - I'd like to know why? Do you think we should allow a steady flow of unchecked people to just take up residence in the United States? Would you be OK if they moved in next door to you? Before you answer, ask the people of Twin Falls, Idaho what happened to their lifestyle in a similar instance.

    I can certainly appreciate a difference of opinion, but how about backing your beliefs with some facts.

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 9 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    "When we look at the facts instead of the political rhetoric, it’s obvious that President Trump made the right choice; a choice that will benefit all Americans."

    Merciful Heavens. There really are those who will gladly follow him right off the cliff. Please God they don't take all of us with them.