The Travel Ban

I saw a video this morning from over the past weekend. The news were interviewing an Iranian-American man who had been waiting for his brother to arrive at LAX airport in Los Angeles when he learned that his brother had been detained and was going to be deported. The man was distraught. “I left Iran because of this,” he said. “I’ve lived in America for twenty years,” he said. “I am an American citizen.” “Now this happens here,” he said.

I’ve heard many similar stories this week since the sudden ban on travelers from seven Middle Eastern, majority-Muslim nations and the 120-day suspension of admission for all refugees. Families, children being detained for hours. Green card holders who were legal residents of the U.S. There were protests against the ban at airports in major cities and federal court rulings blocking it. And yet it continues.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that about half of Americans support the ban, while 41 percent oppose it. Thirty-one percent say it makes them feel safer, while 26 percent say they feel less safe. One-third don’t think it will make a difference.

If you ask me if you should travel to the U.S. today, I don’t think you should.I won’t rehash the usual clichés about “the nation of immigrants.” There’s a huge statue in New York Harbor that attests to that.

People from other countries sometimes ask me about traveling to the U.S. I live in one of the most popular tourism cities in this country, home to Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal. Every day I see a post from the Florida tourism office in my Facebook or Twitter feeds suggesting I share how great the weather is here this winter.

If you ask me if you should travel to the U.S. today, I don’t think you should. For those who are from one of the seven banned nations, the doors are closed to you. You will be welcome in Canada. For anyone out there who is opposed to the ban, you should stay away, too. Vote with your wallet — take your money somewhere else.

Yes, people in our largest tourist cities on the east and west coasts are more opposed to the ban. Here in Orlando, it seems more people oppose the ban than support it. But Florida voted for the president, and most of the other states did, as well.

People in middle America support the ban. The president said he would do this during the campaign. This is what the people who voted for him wanted. They don’t care what I think or you think or the rest of the world thinks.


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