By Zeke Moriarty

The Faces of Syrian Refugees photo exhibit in Boston City Hall has brought renewed attention to the issue refugee crisis. Not only does the crisis influence art, but it also influences policy in the United States. One of those major policies is President Trump’s travel ban, which was originally blocked. However, the Supreme Court recently allowed most of the Trump travel ban to take effect.

Related: Faces of Syrian Refugees Project

In January, the ban was blocked by a federal judge eight days after it was first instated. In March a revised version, issued by President Trump, reduced the number of countries on the ban. This only applied to people seeking new visas, but it was quickly blocked by a Hawaiian Federal Judge just a few hours later.

The new ban is enforced on Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, and it only exempts individuals who have a close “familial relationship” with a person in the United States. Multiple organizations have released statements expressing their disapproval with the ban, including some here in Massachusetts.

Ali Noorani, the executive director at the National Immigration Forum, released a statement disapproving of the travel ban.

“A travel ban aimed at people from Muslim-majority countries does not align with our shared values as Americans, nor is it an effective way to ensure our national security,” said Noorani in a press release.

“Donald Trump’s travel ban discriminates against a huge portion of the world’s population and demonizes Muslims.” — Ty Cobb, Human Rights Campaign Global

Ty Cobb, director of the Human Rights Campaign Global (the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization) released a similar statement condemning the new travel ban.

“Donald Trump’s travel ban discriminates against a huge portion of the world’s population and demonizes Muslims.” He said. “Worse yet, Trump’s reckless travel ban endangers LGBTQ people and others who are fleeing human rights abuses sanctioned by leaders in these countries.”

On the other hand, organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) believe otherwise. Dave Ray, the director of communications for FAIR, praised the travel ban in an email statement.

“This is not only a huge win for President Trump but also for public safety in the U.S. as well,” he said.

He added that the temporary ban in admissions from countries that are known as a “hotbed of jihadist terrorism” will allow the country to “fully assess its ability to ensure that we’re not only admitting those who wish to come here with the intentions of harming our citizens.”
The President and his administration believe that the ban is for the good and safety of the country. According to a statement from the White House, the ban is a “clear victory for national security.” The President also refers to the ban as one that suspends travel to six “terror-prone countries.”

There are currently over 5 million registered Syrian refugees since the civil war began in 2011. Of that number, 996,806 live in the US, Canada and Europe. Around 18,000 refugees currently live in the US. While northern European countries, such as Germany and Sweden, are taking in hundreds of thousands.

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