Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Unintended Consequences of Trump's Muslim Immigration Ban

Lawyers providing pro bono legal services for detainees in JFK 
Where to begin? First, Trump's January 27, 2017 Executive Order cites to the wrong law: "The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview . . . " Section 222 of the INA is 8 U.S.C. 1202, not 1222. 8 U.S.C. 1222 does not require in-person interviews; that would be 8 U.S.C. 1202, not 1222. 

Second, the Executive Order cites to the 19 terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 as the basis for banning any and all immigrants from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. However, of those 19 terrorists, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, 2 were from the United Arab Emirates, 1 was from Egypt, and 1 was from Lebanon. In other words, NONE of the 9/11 terrorists were from the 7 countries now banned by Trump's Executive Order. 

Third (and this is the real kicker), Trump’s Executive Order did not ban any of the Muslim countries where the Trump Organization — which is now being run by his sons — has business interests. Those countries where Trump has business interests include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates — all countries where the 9/11 terrorists actually came from. 

Fourth, Trump's Press Secretary's attempt to somehow blame the Obama Administration for this ban is weak sauce (although we shouldn't be surprised since this is the same guy who said Trump's inauguration crowd was the biggest ever. "Period."). The fact that the Obama Admin flagged some of these countries as concerns for its visa program in no way explains or justifies the Trump Admin's decision to institute a wholesale ban of all people from these countries. 

Fifth, this kind of overreach is a good thing. Hear me out. Since this Executive Order was signed, we've seen people motivated here and around the world to stand up and take action. Lawyers have lined up at JFK, Chicago O'Hare and Boston Logan airports to provide free pro bono legal services to those being detained. Federal Judge Ann Donnelly in the Eastern District of New York has already heard an emergency motion filed by the attorneys of individuals being detained at JFK; she granted a temporary restraining order stopping the Executive Order's ban which will undoubtedly work its way up through the courts. Sometimes you need these kinds of threats to our liberties in order to remind all of us that policies based on a nationalist xenophobia of minorities is not just a difference of ideology - it's just flat out wrong. We're better than this, and we're seeing evidence of this fact starting to take shape.
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