executiveorderHow does the rest of the world see the US turn against immigrants, especially Muslims? Three (among many) indicators are: (1) cancellations of planned trips to the US, along with an overall decline in the number of tourists planning to come to the US; (2) decisions by scientists to cancel plans to attend conferences in the US, forcing at least one large conference to cancel due to lack of presenters; (3) 150,000 Brits demanding that Trump’s planned state visit be cancelled.

The reasons for this, according to people who talk to the people who are staying away (travel agents, for example), are (1) fear of traveling to the US, and (2) moral objections to America’s anti-immigrant/anti-refugee stance. Whether or not this is a fair interpretation of America’s turn against immigrants, that is how the rest of the world sees it. In view of the fact that the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant, anti-refugee actions will do very little to make Americans safer, it is clear to most people (both here and abroad) that it is not about national security. Then what is it about? From outside the US, it looks very much like it is about xenophobia stirred up by President Trump to make us afraid.

A tourism slump will have a negative impact on our economy, but probably not a very big one. The real question we should ask: Is this what America has become? Is this the America we want?