Trump’s Immigration, Refugee Actions and the American Dream

Jake Neher/WDET

Osama Siblani (left) and Hayg Oshagan (right)

No matter your opinion of President Donald Trump, he is certainly following through on some of his biggest campaign promises in the first weeks of his presidency.

Yesterday, he set in motion plans to stop refugees from some Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. and to crack down on undocumented immigrants and build a border wall with Mexico. For his ardent supporters, that’s probably very heartening. But for opponents, and especially vulnerable families who stand to be affected by those moves, it’s scary.

What do these actions mean for them? And what do they mean for all Americans?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with two prominent local voices in Southeast Michigan’s Arab, Muslim, and minority communities. Osama Siblani is the publisher of Arab American News. Hayg Oshagan is an associate professor of communications with a specialization in ethnic and minority media at Wayne State University, and he is the founder of New Michigan Media.

If America wants to limit immigration, if America wants to limit refugees to the United States, then America should really examine its foreign policy in the world,” says Siblani. “We invaded Iraq, destroyed the country, now we’re going to blacklist people from Iraq or put them on a no-entry list?”

Oshagan says, even if Trump isn’t ultimately able to directly achieve some of his immigration and refugee goals, his rhetoric alone could cause a “chilling effect” on people entering the U.S.

My worry is that it’s creating a culture of fear and a culture of blame,” he says. “It’s the kind of fear that allowed (President Franklin D. Roosevelt) to create his internment camps. This fear, this blame, this attack on small population groups that are relatively defenseless has led us down really bad roads in the past as Americans.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Amber Neher

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.  

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