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How Trump's Ideas on Muslim Immigration have been Borrowed from America's Past

How Trump's Ideas on Muslim Immigration have been Borrowed from America's Past

Imagine living in a world where every word that came out of your mouth was dissected and analyzed? Politicians, especially those running for president know what they are getting themselves into. They signed up for it, but being on the constant defense is even exhausting to watch. 

Donald Trump is the most talked about candidate. He has always been someone in the public eye with strong opinions. Recently, his ideas about how to fight the war on Islamic terrorism has caused him to be compared to Germany’s Adolf Hitler. Headlines such as “Donald Trump Ditches Political Correctness, Slams Muslims” and “Donald Trump’s Horrifying words about Muslims” have blanketed the internet.

But, what did he really say that caused him to be labeled as such a villain? Most of these articles don’t have exact quotes from the Republican candidate. 

Here are his actual quotes about this issue. 

NBC News Reporter: Should there be a database to track the Muslims in this country?

Trump: There should be a lot of systems beyond databases. So, there should be a lot of systems and today you can do it. But, right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to have a wall, and we cannot let what’s happening to this country happen any longer.

NBC News Reporter: What do you think the effect of that would be, how would it work?

Trump: It would stop people from coming in illegally.

NBC News Reporter: Would they have to legally be in this database?

Trump: They have to be, they have to be, the key is people can come to this country but they have to be here legally. 

Where in this exchange does Trump ever clearly advocate for a Muslim registry? It is clear from above that Trump is referencing his ideas to keep out illegal immigrants and that there is some major miscommunication between the reporter and Trump. 

Trump backed this miscommunication up by tweeting “I didn’t suggest a database- a reporter did. We must defeat Islamic terrorism & have surveillance, including a watch list, to protect America.”

However, fuel was added to the fire when his campaign released this statement: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” 

Corey Lewandrowski, Trump’s campaign manager, continued to defend the proposal by saying it would apply to everybody, not only Muslims seeking immigration visas. With the recent ISIS attacks, including the mass shooting two weeks ago in San Bernardino, California by one shooter who was aligned with ISIS, the US public is concerned about Islamic terrorism. It makes sense that Trump would issue a statement stressing the Muslim segment versus others. 

It’s also important to consider that in laws outlined by Congress an immigration ban is ultimately up to both the president and Congress. This has happened previously in The Whitehouse. 

President Jimmy Carter banned the immigration of Iranians in 1980 when America was cutting ties with the Khomeinist regime in Iran. After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Franklin Roosevelt suspended immigration for all Japanese, German, and Italian citizens. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower launched Operation Wetback, whereas over million illegal immigrants where deported by force. 

So, Trump’s ideas are not new or blasphemous. They are borrowed from previous administrations as a way to monitor potential threats on home soil. There is no easy way to pinpoint potential terrorists. Is protecting religious liberty as important as protecting American lives? 

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