Refugees: Unintended Consequences


A draft of a proposed executive order that will reduce the number of refugees admitted to the US and halt the flow of refugees from seven countries will not achieve what President Trump intends. While it represents the fulfillment of a promise to his followers, the executive order will not do anything to protect American families. in fact it could do the opposite. It may be good politics when it comes to Trump supporters, it is not, however, good or effective policy.

  1. US political, military, and economic action is partly responsible for the refugee crises in many of the listed countries. Mature nations need to take responsibility for the unintended consequences of their policies.
  2. Reducing the number of refugees (from 110,000 to 50,000) is contrary to the traditions, practices, and values that have made this country successful.
  3. Using citizenship as a means to determine potential threat is not effective. There are better, more sophisticated ways to assess the threat that a potential immigrant to the US poses.
  4. There is no evidence supporting the assertion that refugees, who are primarily women and children, are likely to become involved in terrorist activities here in the US.
  5. Closing our borders might make some Americans feel safer; it will, however, likely make America less safe because terrorist groups can use these kind of executive actions to build animosity against the US and bolster their standing in their communities abroad and here in the US.
  6. By reducing suffering and showing compassion for refugees we can build greater sympathy for the US.
  7. The proposed ban on issuing visas could also make citizen diplomacy more difficult. Citizen diplomacy, which involves exchange and education programs, has proven to be an effective tool to increase security.

While a final draft or signed executive order has not been released, the draft contains language and policies that are potentially harmful to Americans.