Americans Not in Favor of Trump’s Muslim Ban

According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, only a third of Americans think Trump’s travel ban will make them safer
Protestors gather at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Jan. 28 in New York City.Protestors gather at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Jan. 28 in New York City.

After imposing a temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim countries, President Donald Trump claimed the move would help protect the United States from terrorism. 

However, less than one-third of Americans believe the move makes them “more safe”, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

The January 30-31 poll found roughly one in two Americans backed the ban, which also suspends admission of all refugees for 120 days, although there were sharp divisions along party lines, Reuters reported.

Trump has pushed back against critics who say the travel ban targets Muslims. He says “extreme vetting” is necessary to protect the country and its borders.

“This is not about religion,” Trump said in a statement after announcing the travel ban on Friday. “This is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, some 31% of people said the ban made them feel “more safe”, while 26% said it made them feel “less safe”. Another 33% said it would not make any difference and the rest said they don’t know.

Trump’s executive order blocked citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and placed an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Some Republican lawmakers criticized Trump’s order and said it could backfire by giving terrorist organizations a new recruitment message.

“This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country,” senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a joint statement.

The poll found that 49% of Americans agreed with the order and 41% disagreed. Some 53% of Democrats said they “strongly disagree” with Trump’s action while 51% of Republicans said they “strongly agree.”

Westy Egmont, director of the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College, said Americans have grown increasingly hostile toward refugees and immigrants as the influx has shifted from Eastern Europeans to people from countries like Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan.

“The rise of those numbers, as relatively small as they are, have gathered just enough attention to set off a small reaction from people who are genuinely uncomfortable with the diversity around them,” Egmont said.

Most Americans, however, don’t think the country should show a preference for Christian refugees, as Trump has suggested. Some 56%, including 72% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans, disagreed that the country should “welcome Christian refugees, but not Muslim ones.”

  Trump Supreme Court Pick

Trump on Tuesday nominated Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime job on the US Supreme Court, picking the 49-year-old federal appeals court judge to restore the court’s conservative majority and help shape rulings on divisive issues such as gun control and the death penalty.

The Colorado native faces a potentially contentious confirmation battle in the US Senate after Republicans last year refused to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy caused by the February 2016 death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia.

Announcing the selection to a nighttime crowd in the White House East Room flanked by the judge and his wife, Trump said Gorsuch’s resume is “as good as it gets”.

Trump, who took office on Jan. 20 and has sparked numerous controversies, said he hopes Republicans and Democrats can come together on this nomination for the good of the country.

If confirmed, Gorsuch would expand the court’s conservative wing.

The court’s restored conservative majority likely would be supportive toward the death penalty and gun rights, and hostile toward campaign finance limits. 

Scalia’s replacement also could be pivotal in cases involving presidential powers, voting rights and federal regulations.

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