Permanent US residents have already been denied re-entry to the US, reports show. This comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's draft executive order that bans immigration from several Muslim majority countries.
Green card holders are considered permanent residents of the U.S. and they enjoy many of the same benefits as other Americans. Many foreigners live in the country for decades, work entire careers, raise families in the country and eventually retire. All this with only a green card.
Many do not see much additional benefit in seeking citizenship. That is, until President Trump brought a xenophobic campaign into the country's highest office
“My wife and I have spent countless nights dreaming of a better future for us and especially our children,” Ibrahim Abu Ghanem, a Yemeni man who had been planning to immigrate to the U.S. with his family told the Washington Post. “We were hoping for a better life, better opportunities and good education for our children.”
Several members of Ghanem's family are already in the U.S., which traditionally makes it easier to legally immigrate to the country. Now, their hopes of reuniting are fading.
A Syrian refugee mother already in the U.S. is heartbroken by the planned ban. She was expecting to be reunited with her son soon, but now that may be near impossible if she remains in the country.
"It seemed like everything was fine, and he was finally going to join me here. Now they tell me it might be impossible because of the president’s new decree,” she said. “I’m so scared. I came to America because I thought it would be best for my family.”
Currently, the policy specifically targets individuals from Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Libya but the language is so broad that it could easily be expanded moving forward. Although many ordinary Americans and politicians are criticizing the policy, Trump's administration appears to have little tolerance for dissent.
Muslim-Americans are also hurt by this ban
While some media outlets and President Trump have downplayed the significance of the executive order, it has wide reaching implications for many American citizens, permanent U.S. residents and others around the world.
"The order is written in such a broad manner that it may also prohibit dual nationals of those countries who are citizens of non-targeted countries from entering the U.S. on a visa," the National Iranian American Council said in a statement.
"Perhaps most alarmingly, it can be interpreted to bar even U.S. permanent residents who are outside of the United States from re-entering."
Foreign-born individuals will be screened for "radicalization" – a term typically associated with Islamism and Muslims – and for views regarding women and "honor killings" – a practice seen as an extremist Muslim custom.
Calling a spade a spade
Prominent Muslim American scholar Reza Aslan has argued that people must recognize the executive order as one that specifically targets Muslims.
"Make no mistake: Trump's executive order is nothing more than a Muslim ban by another name," Aslan wrote in an Op-Ed for CNN. "Trump claims such a ban is based on nationality, not religion -- that it is simply coincidence the ban applies only to Muslim-majority countries."
"While the ban would make exceptions for 'religious minorities' fleeing religious persecution in their home countries, it expressly denies entry to Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution from Muslim governments," he said.