Trump to refugees: Go home and die!
Many refugees are fleeing imminent danger, arrest, and/or execution. Is there any other way to interpret this breaking news from the New York Times concerning DHS’s almost instantaneous action on xenophobe-in-chief Donald John Trump’s
edict executive order?
President Trump’s executive order on immigration quickly reverberated through the United States and across the globe on Saturday, slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others.
Around the nation, security officers at major international gateways had new rules to follow. Humanitarian organizations scrambled to cancel long-planned programs, delivering the bad news to families who were about to travel. Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports.
Reports rapidly surfaced Saturday morning of students attending American universities who were blocked from getting back into the United States from visits abroad. One student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was refused permission to board a plane. Stanford University was reportedly working to help a Sudanese student return to California.
It goes without saying that there are many others besides students on green cards seeking refuge in the USA. Unless those people are lucky enough to come from a Middle East nation that is currently doing business with Trump, they can’t come to the land of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”
Mr. Trump’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen on Friday afternoon, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The Department of Homeland Security said that the executive order barred green card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States.
At least one case quickly prompted a legal challenge as lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees held at Kennedy International Airport in New York filed a motion early Saturday seeking to have their clients released. They also filed a motion for class certification, in an effort to represent all refugees and other immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.
Shortly after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter who worked on behalf of the United States government in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back and miming handcuffs.
“What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Mr. Darweesh said. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”
The other man the lawyers are representing, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, remained in custody as his legal advocates sought his release.
Inside the airport, one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, a supervising attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project, asked a border agent, “Who is the person we need to talk to?”
“Call Mr. Trump,” said the agent, who declined to identify himself.
Of course he declined to identify himself. He refused to refer to Mr. Trump as “president.”
There is a sliver of good news, though: at least one detainee has been allowed into the USA.
A refugee who was detained in a New York airport due to President Trump’s immigration ban has been released into the U.S., two lawmakers announced Saturday.
Hameed Jhalid Darweesh, an Iraqi who worked for the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years, was barred from entering the U.S. at first when he landed at Kennedy Airport in New York on Friday night, hours after Trump signed his executive order.
Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced outside the airport Saturday that Darweesh was being released. Further details as to his future were not clear. A reporter’s photo appeared to show him outside the airport and leaving.
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