According to the Secretary to the Department for National Security John Kelly, in the coming days Donald Trump will propose a new decree that concerns those who emigrate from seven countries with a Muslim majority (Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Somalia) – except this time who is already traveling – to whom the entry to the USA had already been forbidden at the end of January, without surrender before the Court of Appeal that had suspended the previous decree. “We want only those who love Our Country and respect our values to enter” has said in these days in Florida. But there is a question: does Trump know his American citizens?
J. Mersedeh is one of the 400 thousand American citizens of Iranian origin. She arrived with her family in 1986 escaping from war and from the oppressive regime in Iran. “We were not political refugees in the strict sense because we did not request political asylum – she tells us -. My dad with a doctorate in microbiology in hand, had an offer of employment without which we would never have arrived in the USA. My parents wanted a better life for their daughters. Life in Iran was not easy for anyone and it was difficult especially for women. My parents wanted that my sister and I had the opportunities that we would never have had in our country. When we arrived though, the job my father had been promised was no longer there. As all immigrants, my parents had to do everything possible to survive. My father found a job in a petrol station (but only because he knew the owner) and my mother that she also is a doctor in microbiology, began to work as a labourer in a laboratory for sterilization. Slowly however they searched and found better jobs, they managed to buy a home and to pay our studies at the University. This for us has meant hospitality in the United States: to have the opportunity to work so much and also so hard but then be rewarded for the work done: a meritocracy”.
No matter to what religion or ethnic group belong those who ask to enter in America. In fact, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 Articles 13 and 14, have already been included also the cases in which the right to leave one’s own country and to seek asylum in another may be denied. “This right may not be invoked in the case in which the person is genuinely prosecuted for non-political crimes or for acts that are contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations”.
The people that are integrated in the United States for more than 30 years are shocked when they hear about “security“, because a multi-ethnic society like the American one should not be afraid to fight terrorism inside as outside with the force of inclusion and of multi-ethnic and interreligious dialog. Finding the authors through an effective investigative system and not putting all the eggs in the same basket, as they say, fomenting hatred towards certain ethnic groups and the defence of certain minorities while others are forgotten.
It had already been explained by the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans and President of the Episcopal Conference of Iraq, Raphael Louis Sako that spoke a few weeks ago, on the stop to the migrants of the American President. “Those who have a link with terrorism must not enter the USA but other people who are looking for security for their families must have this possibility. This is a human right… But to make a prejudice towards one religion is dangerous. This creates tensions … There are cases of people who deserve to be welcomed: those who are fleeing from terrorism or from persecution”.
Then what policy could be more appropriate today in the United States towards migrants pushing on the borders? And specially to control the phenomenon of terrorism? “Except the indigenous peoples, here we are all immigrants … even Trump’s mother (and two of his three wives”). J. Mersedeh says it with full knowledge of the facts because being an American that works every day in the field of communications and translations she loves to speak out of direct experience. “It has always been very difficult to migrate to the United States. It took us years to be able to come… immigrants and refugees are already doing somersaults to be able to enter here. For many of them it is like winning the lottery. Make entry to the US still more difficult does not help anyone. Thousands of students arrive here from abroad to study and then they remain after the studies. Why? Because the dissemination of ideas is the most beautiful part of a mixed, multi-ethnic society. To have a hard policy towards countries with a Muslim majority leads as a consequence only to make those countries increasingly radical “.
A last spontaneous question on the future: what can you teach your children about this story that highlights closure towards some countries like your land of origin, Iran and not instead towards Saudi Arabia for example?
“We only have internet at home and my daughters do not see the news on TV”, explains Mersedeh that has never been afraid to hide her Iranian origins in front of an American population of over 320 million people, of which only 3 million are Native Americans. “The elder one however perceives that something dramatic is happening and she is obviously curious. We are trying to protect them as much as possible from these news that could disturb their daily life. This is because I remember that when I was 7 years old I was living in a country with a hostile and unstable policy and we could not easily escape from daily oppression. I do not want this for my daughters. I want them to have good examples: therefore, with my little girls I recently prepared some sweets for a charity sale organized in my office in favour of two NGOs that help migrants and a Sioux tribe. The new generations must see how you can help to do good. Even at school there is the collection of food for the poor and other activities for those who are more in difficulty. This is our America! Also, we as parents we want our children to learn to do good to others, even if the government does not always do it”.
And raising walls on the border with Mexico as well as closing to some Arab states while with others business relations continue no stop, it is difficult to make them pass as actions for “helping your neighbour” or even to protect Christians to the new generations. Pope Francis does not hesitate to teach it, centring the faith in Jesus on the encounter with humanity and not on the rejection of some of its members. “We defend ourselves with walls, barbed wires or with other means from the other peoples that could take away our identity. And this is very serious. For this reason, I always say: dialog among yourselves, dialog among yourselves!”.