South Florida Muslim community reacts to renewed travel ban

Posted at 7:48 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 00:10:07-05
President Trump signed a revised travel ban that halts entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim-majority nations for 90 days. The plan no longer includes Iraq and Green Card holders will not be affected anymore. 
The directive also suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, not singling out Syrian refugees anymore. The administration also removed language that would give priority to religious minorities. The original version of the ban received criticism for prioritizing Christian refugees. 
Despite the changes, Muslim community leaders in South Florida do not feel at ease with the new version.
“We think these are cosmetic changes to an order that have exactly the same purpose as the first one,” said Wilfred Ruiz with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “To implement a Muslim ban.”
Opponents are skeptical of how much safer the ban will make the nation since nationals from Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, the six countries included in the travel ban, have killed zero people in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. 
Former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan said the concern with those six nations is that their governments are in disarray, there is no military presence from the U.S. and they are terrorist strongholds. 
“I fully concur with the President’s decision,” Kaplan said. “It’s almost impossible to rely on those governments to properly vet those individuals.”
A report from the Homeland Security Department found insufficient evidence that citizens of the nations included in the travel ban pose a terror threat. 
Recent terrorism acts on U.S. soil like in San Bernardino have been performed by U.S. citizens. 
Not included in the ban are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates - the countries from where the 9/11 plane hijackers came from. 
“Our military and intelligence community is so concerned that if we don’t start somewhere, that God forbid we would have a repeat of 9/11,” Kaplan said. 
Ruiz, who served in the Navy, said he also wants to keep this country safe but he doesn’t believe a travel ban is the way to do it. 
“Stereotyping Muslims will not help,” Ruiz said. “It has not helped and it will not help in the future.”
The Human Rights Defense Center in Lake Worth released a statement Monday afternoon. The statement said in part: 
“This latest rewrite of the immigration ban by the Trump administration is nothing more than a scheme to benefit the private prison industry wrapped in the false cloak of national security. The administration’s vilification of immigrants, fueling the recent alarming increase in deportation arrests, is a means to ensure increased profits for the private, for-profit prisons used to house them.