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We Believe in the Power of Travel: A Reaction to the Supreme Court Ruling on the Travel Ban

Photo of Valerie Stimac
Valerie Stimac

Valerie is the Managing Editor and helps produce all of the amazing articles and guides you see on Go Overseas. She attended grad school abroad in London.

Amy, Nepal Earthquake Recovery

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

The words above were written by Mark Twain in 1869. It has been nearly 150 years since the book in which they were written Innocents Abroad was published, yet they ring as true as ever.

When my colleague Mallory shared her thoughts about new immigration policies in January 2017, we hoped that would be the last time we were forced to cite Twain to advocate the power of travel. In our office, we generally try to remain hopeful that the world is moving in a positive direction and that we can increase empathy and open-mindedness in the world -- through travel and connecting with others.

Unfortunately, today the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an executive order that has been hotly debated and repeatedly overturned in lower courts since it was first proposed in September 2017. This order bars travel to the U.S. from seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Oman, Somalia, Venezuela, and Yemen. The order is rooted in foundations of national security, suggesting that a blanket ban on individuals from these countries is the only way to ensure national security in the U.S.

...prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness...

In short, it makes the assumption that each of the nearly 90 million people who call these seven countries home should not be permitted the freedom to travel in the United States because we can't be sure they mean us no harm.

Care Intensely (A Go Overseas Value)

At Go Overseas, we remain strong on the assertion that, as Twain says, "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." We believe that travel bans do more harm than good, if only because they encourage the prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness that we know travel is capable of erasing.

...many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

It's unfortunate that this travel ban has been upheld in the Supreme Court; this makes it much harder for future lawmakers or members of the judicial branch to change the policy. It means that whereas last time, our voices could be passed through petition to our representatives in Congress, we must now conduct ourselves to a higher level than the law requires. We cannot let a travel ban stop us from traveling to these countries -- or let it discourage travelers from visiting us in our home country.

We must believe that the power of travel to connect travelers, change our minds, and transform the world will win out.

Take Action (Another Go Overseas Value)

If you believe that, as we do, join us in taking your stand. Starting today, you can sign up to receive a postcard written by a member of the Go Overseas team. These postcards, which read "I Believe in the Power of Travel," are perfect to hang in your home, on your desk, on your mirror, or in a special place where you can be inspired to support travel through your actions and by encouraging others.

There's no special gimmick or catch. We won't ask you to do anything in return -- but if you want to share a picture of you and your postcard with the hashtag #GoOverseas, we'd love to see it.

We just want to share a reminder of the power of travel that you can use to inspire your own travels -- or share with someone who is passionate about travel too (share the link or ask them first before signing them up!). Thank you for being part of our community.