We’ve been here before: Historians annotate and analyze immigration ban’s place in history

The World
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Context matters.

And the context of Trump’s executive orders on immigration are a long history of excluding immigrants on the basis of national origin, political and religious beliefs and in the name of national security.

Enter historians. One week ago, a group affiliated with the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society created #immigrationsyllabus. It’s an attempt to bring facts and understanding to our current immigration debates. The syllabus is an organized set of readings that brings clarity to a very complex system, but also makes it clear that these debates have been going on since the founding of the United States.

And to be clear, it’s nonpartisan. These are all long-standing, published and peer-reviewed scholars.

These historians have come together again to help us understand Trump’s executive orders on immigration. The order he signed Friday gave federal agencies broad power to detain or deny entry to anyone arriving as a refugee from any country or as an immigrant of any kind from the so-called “countries of concern,” Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

We’ve been covering the effects of the order, perspectives on what it does and what it’s for, as well as the lawsuits that have arisen in result. But here is the order itself, annotated by six historians from universities around the US.

These annotations were written collaboratively by Evan Taparata, a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota and an editor for PRI.org, Erika Lee at the University of Minnesota, María Cristina García at Cornell University, Maddalena Marinari at Gustavus Adolphus College, Adam Goodman from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Julian Lim of Arizona State University, Tempe. It was edited and introduced by Angilee Shah, digital editor for Global Nation at PRI.

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