An Open Letter On the Muslim Ban

By Ananya Kalahasti (Scared Immigrant)

Last summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Yale Young Global Scholars program in International Affairs and Security. The program was a transformational experience for me, someone who aspires to go into international affairs one day, but what truly left an impression on me was the cohort of students I had the privilege of spending time with, from all across the world.

However, last night, I sent a message to my closest friends from YYGS, apologizing for the way this past week under our new president has taken a turn.

I always knew and feared that the Muslim Ban would become a reality after this election, that the government would let Islamophobia take over rational security measures. But this is insanity. This is inhumane.

I’m the Indian-American daughter of two immigrant green-card holders, from a nation not on the 7-country list. I’m a US citizen. I was supposed to travel to India with my parents and brother this spring break, to see family abroad again after years. I’m scared of what might happen while I’m gone.

I understand concerns about security in today’s world. But I also know there’s a difference between ‘vetting’ and discrimination. This is the latter. That we cut people off from safety because of what they call their God, or that we discriminate against entire nations. And on top of that, we blatantly state that we’ll prioritize Christians in this country. What has this government turned into?

But what’s even worse is the green card part. I have friends who are green card holders. They’re as American as anyone else I know. This country is their home, all they have. They’re the people being turned away too.

Meanwhile, our President gets to escape unscathed with this policy embroiled in hypocrisy. Countries where he has business interests, even if those are where more security threats lay, don’t get any sort of bans. A green card holder doing humanitarian aid in Iraq doesn’t get to come home, but a non-citizen business partner on a visa from the UAE can. This is the definition of hypocrisy. A student studying at MIT doesn’t get to continue their education, an Iranian scientist working on a cure for diabetes can’t come to work here. We’re not keeping threats out. If anything, we just give terrorist groups more propaganda to base anti-US sentiment on.

And if we’re talking about hypocrisy, where are the Republicans? Where are the politicians, who denounced a Muslim Ban during campaign season, now saying silent, or even supporting this policy? Where are the men and women who were elected by constituents whose lives are being torn apart?

So, to all those abroad, all the lives torn up by this cruel policy, all the families currently divided with no hopes of reuniting, I’m sorry that our country has taken this turn. Know that we continue to fight for you, that we continue to emphasize love as a simple form of resistance in this era of despicable actions. Know that the hearts of Americans don’t lie with those in the White House at this time, and that we pray for your success, not and for humanity to finally win over this policy of hatred.

Here's how author Ananya Kalahasti suggests you can get involved: American Civil Liberties Union

Take Action Now: Immigration, Civil Liberties