On the Trump travel ban, refugees and walling off America: Cut off nose, spite face

One of many protests at US airports, this one from San Francisco, against President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting seven Muslim majority countries. Flickr, Quinn Norton. Jan 2017

For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we seek to provide some background and context for the controversy following President Donald Trump’s travel-immigration ban aimed at greatly restricting or prohibiting entry from seven Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan and Libya) to protect us from the threat of Islamic extremist terrorism.

Protester makes his point at a demonstration in San Antonio, Texas, in mid-January following President Trump's ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries. Pink unicorn checks phone. Flickr, Daniel Cuadra

Protester makes his point at a demonstration in San Antonio, Texas, in mid-January following President Trump’s ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries. Pink unicorn checks phone. Flickr, Daniel Cuadra

Trump’s travel ban has, like a number of his presidential executive orders, led to a lot of confusion and consternation – even within the business community and among national security experts. Progressives, liberals and most human rights organizations are of course outraged. No surprise. Some of Trump’s supporters shrug at the protestations, noting that he did say he was going to do these things – like ‘ban Muslims’ from coming into the country (though Trump’s alternative fact checkers are trying to walk this one back lately and contend, pretty unconvincingly, that it’s not about Muslims).

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The travel ban, the rejection of refugees, the wall and Trump’s political stance that all these forms of migration somehow threaten American interests prompted us to revisit two earlier podcasts – one with Michael Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development who (like a voice crying out in the wilderness) has data to show migration benefits Americans and our economy; and Nikky Smith, head of the Seattle office of the International Rescue Committee, one of the world’s leading organizations assisting refugees. Smith makes the case for why we benefit as well from helping refugees. We think these two points need to be emphasized right now.

As usual, before we get into our primary interview(s) for the podcast, Humanosphere publisher-editor-janitor Tom Paulson and I discuss some of the stories that interested us this week.

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To start with, we took note of a story by Joanne Lu about the Indian government considering creating a universal basic income as a means to reduce the (costly) instability caused by extreme poverty. We also highlight a number of stories by Tom Murphy explaining the many adverse impacts these new travel and immigration restrictions will have on aid organizations, lawsuits and how they are responding. Murphy is also the one who launches our podcast, retrieved from the archives, interviewing Clemens. This chat is followed by an interview conducted by our intrepid and peripatetic colleague Lisa Nikolau with Nikky Smith of the IRC. Listen in!

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About Author

Imana Gunawan

Imana Gunawan is Humanosphere's social media manager and podcast producer. A University of Washington graduate in journalism and dance, Imana's interests include underrepresented communities, the intersection between politics and culture, global-local issues and the arts. She can be reached at @imanafg on Twitter or imana@humanosphere.org