By Abbas Al Khayati
By Abbas Al Khayati
Rabat – There is a new President in the United States named Donald Trump. Many young Moroccans who might want to continue their education in the United States are asking themselves, now what?
They are uncertain what Trump policies, at least those promoted during the election campaign, will mean for their future. There is some good news and some even better news regarding the Trump presidency, it all depends on one’s perspective.
The first thing people need to know is that it is impossible to be barred entry to the America for being Muslim. Discriminating against someone on the basis or religion is against the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution. Unlike many developing countries, the US is a country where the Judiciary actually functions and is not corrupt to the core with the consent of government, at least not yet. This means that the only way Trump can stop Muslims from coming to America is by targeting their countries of origin.
The easiest way to stop Muslims from coming to America is by simply reintroducing one of several Bush policies implemented after 9/11 terrorist attacks. Under this policy, males over the age of 16 were required to register. This registration process was done in stages; 24 of the 25 countries on the list were predominantly Muslim, but to avoid legal challenges, 1 non-Muslim nation, North Korea was included on the list. It is likely that these 25 countries will once again become the main targets of the new Trump Immigration reform. They are as follows:
Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Egypt Jordan and Kuwait
Nationals from these nations could be barred entry all together, but prior to that, and to avoid legal battles, the first step will likely be to simply do what Bush required them to do, register. This would involve reporting to a government office to be fingerprinted, provide your home address and work/school details and then go through a short interview process. It is entirely possible that women may also be included, but unlikely, at least at first.
This process is going to require a lot of bureaucracy, so Trump will end up having to hire many people, currently unemployed/under-employed, to make this process work. It will likely not be a fun process, but will certainly be no more humiliating than the process Moroccans are already subjected to by Immigration offices in many European and Arab countries.
Immigration is completely within the purview of the Executive branch and Trump could theoretically decide to halt immigration from these countries all together. This would, however, be difficult to implement on day one, as he promised to do, for a number of reasons.
What does this mean for the many Moroccans who have started the immigration process, or who are already citizens of the United States? It means more scrutiny. But ultimately, it means more scrutiny within the bounds of the law. Those who have been scamming the system for years are likely to finally be held accountable. Those who perhaps gained their visas through dubious, fake marriages or other shenanigans are likely to see their documents rescinded.
The Good news is that the US, unlike most Mena countries is still a nation of laws. If you have not broken the law, Tax law, DMV registration or Immigration law, you will be fine.
Muslims in the US have already found themselves subjected to Tax audits at a higher rate than non-Muslims and they have already found themselves being subject to more visits from regulatory agencies. It is reasonable to assume that this is likely to increase in the current climate. However, if you have acted with integrity and not broken any laws during your stay in the United States, you are likely not going to have too many issues.
Trump is also likely to reintroduce a sort of “Bergaga” or informant network in the US that actively solicits Muslim collaborators to report on and entrap other Muslims. This would work the same way that the wildly unsuccessful “mosque Trawler” system worked. It would involve giving plea deal arrangements to “Muslims” convicted of minor offences (usually Drug, Immigration Fraud and domestic violence crimes) the opportunity to avoid deportation, incarceration and fines by going to Mosques and reporting fake activities or helping government agencies to entrap naïve young people in fake terror conspiracies. This is where real Muslims must be truly vigilant and educate their children to be aware of these kinds of “Bergaga.”
In an odd way, Trump could end up being the best thing that could happen to Islam in America and Muslims throughout the world. Muslims who act piously and behave with integrity will have nothing to worry about. Fair warning, however, to those who bring disrepute to Islam. They are the ones who will bear the heavy load and this is as it should be.
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