Donald Trump was inaugurated as the president of the United States on January 20, 2017, and it has been a long three weeks. Since his inauguration, President Trump has ignited two nationwide protests and his approval ratings have dropped to record-breaking lows. On day one, President Donald Trump signed his first executive order which pertained to the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as ‘Obamacare’. The executive order itself doesn’t change the law, but it does signal intent to repeal and replace it, as Trump promised he would throughout the campaign.
Shortly thereafter, President Trump signed an executive order regarding immigration and the promise of the construction of a border-wall. Th executive order outlines immediate actions to increase security at the border and immediately begin construction of the wall. The EO however, did little to outline where the funds would be coming from, and this has inflamed relations between President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The Mexican President has been adamant about the fact that Mexico will not be paying for any walls. Donald Trump, however, has insisted that Mexico will pay, and has proposed increases on tariffs for Mexican imports, among similar taxes and fees to be imposed on Mexico or Mexican-Americans.
President Trump’s crackdown on immigration didn’t end there. The president also issued an executive order that targets undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities. To do this, Trump intends on enlarging the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), beginning deportation of undocumented immigrants and defunding sanctuary cities.
The president’s final push against immigration has caused the most outrage, and rightly so. The executive order many are referring to as the ‘Muslim-ban’ which restricts refugees from entering the United States as well as any immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. But this so-called ban is based on ideas that are so far removed from reality that there is no chance that it could even come close to achieving its goals. Not only is it based on the false perception that refugees and immigrants are committing acts of terror on United States soil – which simply isn’t the case – it also targets green card and visa holders. Some republicans have also come out against Trump’s ban including former vice-president Dick Cheney, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham, citing effects such as emboldening terrorist recruitment efforts and infringing on the first amendment. This ‘ban’ has already had a significant effect within the United States, families have been separated and American citizens no longer feel safe in the country they call home.
Some notable presidential memorandums include the reimplementation of the ‘Mexico City’ Policy, America’s withdrawal from TPP, and approval for the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines. Such catastrophic actions have led the United States’ to fall from their long-held title of ‘Leader of the Free World’. People around the world have eagerly waited for a world leader to speak out against President Trump and his many unlawful actions. As a Canadian, I am anxiously waiting for Prime Minister Trudeau to have a stronger voice against Trump’s actions. Granted Trudeau has responded to the immigration ban, vowing to take in anyone that the United States refuses to settle. This is a great start, but it certainly leaves more to be desired particularly with regard to implementation and the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines.
Many prominent world leaders have not yet come out with a firm statement of opposition to Trump and some have expressed intent to cooperate, seemingly unconditionally. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May has spoken out against her fellow politicians who have called on her to condemn President Trump and his actions. Similarly, Australian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, has insisted on maintaining good U.S.-Australian relations despite President Trump’s aggressive dissatisfaction with the refugee exchange that was negotiated during the Obama Administration.
“The necessary and decisive battle against terrorism does not in any way justify putting groups of certain people under general suspicion, in this case people of Muslim belief or of a certain origin.” – Angela Merkel
European leaders have been mostly complacent with President Trump’s rise to power. Most have not commented on any of his executive actions thus far, with the exception of Francois Hollande, President of France, who argued that Trump’s protectionist policies will be detrimental to economies across the globe. Other European leaders have had significantly less to say, such as Italian Prime Minister who simply stated that they are interested in cooperating with new American President.
Alas German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has answered the international call for a leader to stand up against America’s new president. In response to President Trump’s executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, Merkel stated: “The necessary and decisive battle against terrorism does not in any way justify putting groups of certain people under general suspicion, in this case people of Muslim belief or of a certain origin.” As global citizens, we can only hope that more international leaders will join Merkel in opposing Trump and his illegal and unconstitutional actions thus far.
By Stephanie Yaacoub
Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.