Now that President Trump's travel ban has been approved by the Supreme Court, it's time for America to acknowledge an overwhelming truth: this is not a travel ban on Muslim people. How could it be? A majority of the people being banned from traveling to America aren't even Muslims. Seriously, the numbers don't lie. Last year our Federal government gave out 87,000 "non-immigrant" visas from the seven nations that are now affected by the travel ban.
While a lot of the media's attention is focused on so-called Islamophobia, most of the people affected by this ban aren't even from predominantly Muslim countries. In fact, more than half of the visas went to people from Venezuela, who had almost twice as many visas as the rest of the countries combined.
Here's a breakdown of the countries and how many travel visas we've issued to their citizens last year:
- Venezuela -- 56,720 visas [Not Muslims]
- Iran -- 19,801visas [Definitely Muslims, but these people come from a country with a national holiday known affectionately as "Death to America Day"]
- Syria -- 5,411 visas [Possibly Muslims, possibly not, but they also come from a country where we've been engaged in hostile military occupation for the past several years.]
- Yemen -- 2,919 visas [Same as Syria. Yemen has more extremists than moderates. Why would we want these people to freely travel here?]
- Libya -- 1,552 visas [Again, same as Syria]
- Somalia -- 276 visas [Ditto]
- North Korea -- 55 [Definitely not Muslims]
Last year we actually gave out about 560,000 visas to the entire world, so the seven countries on the travel ban list barely make up a fraction of the total visas.
Here's the bottom line: much like a lot of hot button issues the media tries to sensationalize, this policy doesn't serve as proof of Trump's so called authoritarianism, alleged racism or Nazi-like behavior. It's not authoritarianism, because Trump isn't restricting his own citizens from doing anything. It's not racism (or bigotry) because the ethnic background of the people who live in the countries on the travel ban list make up just about every color and creed in human existence (seriously, white, Asian, black, brown, Hispanic, Christians, Muslims, you name it). And it's not Nazi-like behavior because nobody is gassing 6 million Jews or trying to invade Poland (so stop making Nazi analogies, people, it's just lazy political discourse).
The idea that this policy is Islamophobic is ludicrous. In fact, almost all of the world's predominantly Muslim countries aren't even on the travel ban list. Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Guinea, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Sierra Leone, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Chad, Lebanon, Kuwait, Albania, Mauritania, Oman, Kosovo, The Gambia, Bahrain, Comoros, Qatar, Brunei, Maldives and the United Kingdom (Ok, that last one was a joke).
It's not usual for the media to instill fear into the hearts of American news consumers. In fact, that's their modus operandi. But that doesn't mean we have to let them to succeed in their goal of keeping us awake at night with anxiety over imaginary problems.
By the way, before we forgot about this issue and move on to things that actually affect us, here's one more closing thought on the travel ban news: after the Supreme Court ruling on this issue was officially made, the media unofficially stopped caring about the detained kids at the border. How could they do otherwise? Foreign Muslims who lost their travel visas are waaaay more interesting to left leaning news consumers now that Trump signed an executive order to stop separating kids from their parents. Sorry, border babies, but your 15 minutes is up.
And that's why journalism is dead.
Photo by Getty