I sent the below letter to Speaker Paul Ryan on January 29th, 2017, in response to Trump’s executive order on immigration.
I am writing to you today as a U.S. citizen to express my strong opposition to Executive Order 13769, issued by Donald Trump on Friday, which would impose a 90 day ban on nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries (Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) from entering the United States, as well as indefinitely suspending the Syrian Refugee program.
President Trump claims the enactment of this order is driven by a concern for national security. Given that you, Speaker Ryan, have on more than one occasion described yourself as a ‘policy wonk’, I thought you might be interested in some of the numbers pertinent to this issue. According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, between 1975 and 2015, the United States admitted over 3.25 million refugees, of whom only three ended up committing attacks that killed Americans. During the same period, our country granted protection to over 700,000 asylum seekers, of whom again only three would go on to perpetrate deadly terrorist attacks. Perhaps most importantly, of those combined six people, exactly zero hailed from countries targeted by President Trump’s ban. As justification for the draconian measure, Trump made reference in the text to the attacks on September 11, 2001, but again, none of the perpetrators of that horrific attack were from the countries mentioned above. It therefore beggars belief that this order arose out of a concern for the safety and security of Americans.
The chances of being killed by a foreign born terrorist is approximately 1 in 3.6 million. To put that figure in perspective, the odds of being killed by lightning are four times as high.
I work as a software engineer and I know of at least one tech conference (jsconf.eu) which has had to revise its schedule (and may even have to cancel its program entirely) as a result of this executive order. I suspect more will follow. What this means is less collaboration, less sharing of knowledge, and ultimately a diminished ability to solve the key engineering problems facing our country today. As a strong advocate for entrepreneurship and small business, you must appreciate the adverse effects this poses for economic growth.
Of course, mere economic disruption, though important, pales in comparison the very real distress and panic now visited upon the many many families who have loved ones now abroad and must wonder if and when they will be able to see them again. Allowing such a discriminatory and draconian order to go into effect is therefore not just imprudent but morally repugnant.
I urge you to do everything in your power, both in your capacity as Speaker of the House and as personal confidant of the President, to reverse this order, and replace it with a more sensible and moral immigration policy. Failing that, I ask that you provide a clear justification for your support of this order, since based on my arguments above, national security simply cannot logically be the driving factor.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.