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Trump’s Immigration Ban: Timeline, Causes, and Consequences
Immigration has for a long time been a leading controversial issue in the American politics, along with birth control, gun control, medical marijuana use, and death penalty. While previous US Presidents also took certain legal measures to regulate immigration, the new US President Donald Trump went further than all his predecessors by signing a serious immigration ban in the first days of his presidency. On January 27, 2017, Trump signed the 90-day ban for US entry for representatives of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (Singhvi & Parlapiano, 2017). As a result of that unprecedented order, and over 100,000 visas were temporarily revoked for immigrants from these countries. The ban caused a very controversial response worldwide, with numerous outstanding actors, artists, scientists, and politicians ostracizing the USA and refusing to go to the USA even under the condition of having a visa (BBC News, 2017). Causes of such a step, as well as potential consequences of the ban, are discussed in this research paper.
The immigration ban quickly acquired the title of “Muslim ban” and was publicized as the initial step of the strategy to “make America great again” promised by Trump during his electoral campaign. In essence, the order suspended the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days and posed an indefinite ban on the admission of Syrian refugees to the US. Immigrants or visitors from the named seven countries were refused visas for 90 days, with the exemption of UN officials and diplomats. Moreover, Trump’s order introduced the quota of 50,000 refugees to be accepted in 2017, which is 60,000 lower than the annual quota of the former US President (BBC News, 2017).
In the context of the ever-aggravating refugee crisis in Europe, many ring-wing European political figures approved of Trump’s action to protect the integrity of the USA and regulate the influx of Middle East refugees. However, the reaction was not unanimous among other global actors; for instance, the UN Assembly disapproved of Trump’s blindness to refugee issues and called him to reconsider the decision and get back to provision of effective refugee protection regardless of their race and religion. Canadian government officially condemned the decision and official offered refuge to those refused entry by the USA, while the heads of German and UK governments accused Trump of racial profiling and limitations based on explicit religious discrimination (Donalds, 2017). It is needless to say that representatives of Arab countries (both those targeted by the ban and neighboring states) deemed such a decision shameful and unjustified, alarming the US about the possibility of mirror response (Zapotosky & Hauslohner, 2017).
Though there were numerous subsequent changes in the “Muslim ban,” such as removing the infinite ban for Syrian refugees as a separate immigrant group and excluding Iraq from the list, its essence remains the same – the ban creates a serious precedent for intentional immigration exclusion based on the religious/national criterion. Concerns about citizens of these countries serving as a potential source of terror threat for the United States seem largely unjustified and groundless, which suggests that negativity about such a ban will exacerbate. The present-day international reaction is obviously negative, while Arab countries threaten reciprocal measures, and such scenarios endanger the existing trade, economic, oil, and military agreements, among others. Therefore, Trump’s ban may at present be characterized as a very contradictory precedent that opens wide possibilities for conflict and international relationship worsening, let alone the abrupt worsening of the prospects for Middle East refugees coming to the USA and now forced to seek other destinations for decent existence.