Veterans For Peace Board Member Joey King Speaks Out On Why He Opposes the Muslim Ban

Hello.

My name is Joey King. I’m a board member of Veterans For Peace. I’ve also been an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher in Nashville, Tennessee since September 2001. Additionally, I teach two citizenship classes to immigrants and refugees who wish to become citizens. Of my eight weekly classes, four are comprised of refugees exclusively.

As you can imagine, I come into contact with plenty of Muslims in my professional life.

I feel that the president’s attempt to ban Muslims is both immoral and unconstitutional. Today, we have more refugees than at any time in history since the UN was founded at the end of World War II (About 60 million). Seven years ago, when I first started working with the refugee program in Tennessee, there were 40 million. Before the US decreased its quota of refugees, only 1 percent of the worldwide refugees were permanently resettled annually (that is not a typo). The US was taking half of the world’s refugees and the rest were scattered to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the EU. The situation is dire for most of the worlds refugees. As you can see from the math there are far more refugees being created than are being resettled. Only the most dire get permanently resettled.

Many of these refugees who come to our shores are stateless and have lived on a dollar a day in refugee camps for up to 20 years. Due to the unstable situation in the Muslim world (as a result of the US invasions and the civil war in Syria), many desperate Muslims are seeking a safe haven.

Then we have the immigrants. I have had the honor of serving the Muslim community of Nashville for 16 years. As with many other communities, parents want what is best for their children, emphasizing education and encouraging them to do well in school. I teach some of my classes at a community college and have had the pleasure of seeing many of my students go on to finish their associates degree and beyond.

Immigration is the lifeblood of our economy. The US birthrate is a little over 1.8 children per female which is not enough to replace the population. In 1990 when immigration started increasing, the US had about 220 million people. Now we have 320 million. We are the third largest country behind China and India. If we had shut out the immigrants (as Japan has done) we’d have about the same population as Brazil (200 million) and would  be approximately the 5th largest country. Like Japan, our economy would be on the decline. Japan and the US have similar birth rates. It’s simple math. We grow, or our economy contracts. The only thing keeping our economy afloat are our immigrant population.

Finally, our first amendment forbids discriminating on the basis of religion. The Muslim Ban tramples on the First Amendment.

— Joey King
Board Member, Veterans For Peace

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