My family arrived in the United States in 1976, when I was 7, as Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union. I might well not be here, enjoying the greatness of America, if Donald Trump had been president back then. And I would definitely not be writing these words on a MacBook because the genius behind Apple computers, Steve Jobs, was born to a Syrian immigrant father.
At the end of his very first week in office, Trump signed a sweeping executive order that bans all refugees from coming here for 120 days while vetting procedures, already tough, are toughened even further. He also imposed a 90-day suspension on all visitors, not just refugees, from seven Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — along with an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria.
The ostensible justification for this xenophobic edict is to protect us from terrorists. Yet by my calculation, of the 89 individuals who have been implicated in terrorist plots against the United States since 2001, the only ones who might have been affected by this ban were three Somali Americans who did not succeed in killing anyone. The Orlando and Fort Hood shooters, along with one of the San Bernardino shooters, who together murdered 76 fellow Americans, were all born in the United States. And of the killers from abroad, all of them came from countries not on Trump’s target list. The 9/11 hijackers, for example, hailed from Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The second San Bernardino killer, Tashfeen Malik, was born in Pakistan and came here from Saudi Arabia.