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1984 in Class Essay

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Brianna Moodie

Professor Mills

English 101

31 October 2017

Safety or Liberty?

        When the twin towers were two of many targets of the terrorist attack on 9/11, the destruction of this known symbol of unity triggered a demand for a balance between safety and liberty. The steps taken following the attack were an appropriate response in the efforts to protect the American people from any immediate and future terrorist attacks. Increased national security procedures were put into place following the attack. Steps that have been taken to prevent acts of terrorism since Donald Trump has taken office have not been as beneficial. Daniel Bergner, Philip Bump, Arun Gupta, and others address these violations of personal liberty in their articles relating to stop-and-frisk as well as immigration monitoring. Despite the efforts of these new safety measures, the need for balance between the protection of individual rights and national security became ever clearer through furthering immigration laws, police searches, and record crime levels.

President Trump’s efforts to lock down America with increased national security rapidly turned into a fight against immigration and terrorism. Resulting from this fight for “safety” came Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (Full Executive Order). Implementing a terrorist ban on countries with Muslim majority, implies that every Muslim is a terrorist, which is a major controversy. The intention of the ban is to protect the country and its citizens; however, “[I]t blocked nearly all citizens of seven Muslim-majorities countries from traveling to the United States” (Gupta). This not only decreased the risk of a terrorist attack, but also lengthened and complicated the process of granting visas to refugees trying to flee their home countries, along with international student visas. Within minutes of the publication of Trump’s ban, families were separated, refugees were arrested at the gates of airports and students were unable to return for their studies. Not only were immigrants being detained from Muslim countries, a second executive order was given to build a wall along the southern border “prioritizing for removal of those ‘aliens’ who ‘have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense’” (Gupta). These orders provoked riots and protests all over the country on the debate over protecting Fourth Amendment rights and the nation’s security. The Fourth Amendment secures “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (U.S. Constitution).  This debate quickly transformed into a case of racial discrimination. Many of such riots could have been avoided had the vetting process for distributing visas and immigration simply been made more detailed rather than an accusatory ban. America stands to protect individual rights rather than restrict and detain. These executive orders not only create a barrier between America and the rest of the world, but a severe division amongst its own citizens as well.

        In addition to Trump’s executive orders, he is pushing to bring back the policy of “stop-and-frisk,” which allows police to stop anyone at any time with the power to search the suspect for any illegal contraband, merely based off police suspicion. The goal behind this policy is to “aim to get guns off the street, to glean information and solve crime sprees, and, perhaps above all, act as a deterrent, by letting criminals and would-be lawbreakers know that they might find themselves getting a pat down at any given moment” (Bergner). The intensions here are well meaning, and while granted, police have contributed to the result of lower crimes rates, as well as creating one of the most pressing debates in American criminology: “Are young men of color being unfairly-and unconstitutionally-singled out?” (Bergner). A clear line needs to be drawn between true suspicion-dependent searches and racial profiling, especially when “stops of whites were twice as likely to result in discovery of a weapon as a stop of a black person and that blacks were only two-thirds as likely as whites to be carrying something illegal” (Bump). The not so indirect racial profiling that goes along with stop-and-frisk searches contributes to the lack of safety that Trump is “trying to prevent”. When citizens of their own country don’t feel safe and protected, but rather singled out, while the focus is on preventing terrorism and war outside America all the makings for utter disaster are brewing inside the nation through inequality and violation of power.



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