Trump’s Illegal Immigration Order Is Already Pointlessly Hurting Thousands

Trump’s executive order to bar permanent immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries is already throwing lives into chaos and tearing families apart. The Administration is already being sued by some of those being detained, and the profiles of some of the people being denied entry are causing an uproar:

Confusion turned to panic at airports around the world, as travelers found themselves unable to board flights bound for the United States. In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and immigration officials turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in at least one case, ejected a family from a flight they had boarded.

Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, a leading young scientist in Iran, had been scheduled to travel in the coming days to Boston, where he had been awarded a fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard, according to Thomas Michel, the professor who was to supervise the research fellowship.

But Professor Michel said the visas for the student and his wife had been indefinitely suspended.

Families from Syria fleeing persecution are being turned away with no other options after having been thoroughly vetted and having awaited refuge for years. There are even allegations of potential immigrants having their social media profiles checked and being asked about their views on Trump specifically.

The immigration ban is also illegal, as it violates a 1965 statute barring discrimination against immigrants based on country of origin. Trump’s legal attempt to maneuver around that law is laughable at best:

Mr. Trump appears to want to reinstate a new type of Asiatic Barred Zone by executive order, but there is just one problem: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin, replacing the old prejudicial system and giving each country an equal shot at the quotas. In signing the new law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

Mr. Trump may want to revive discrimination based on national origin by asserting a distinction between “the issuance of a visa” and the “entry” of the immigrant. But this is nonsense. Immigrants cannot legally be issued a visa if they are barred from entry. Thus, all orders under the 1952 law apply equally to entry and visa issuance, as his executive order acknowledges.

In addition to being immoral, it also incompetent. The Trump/Bannon team gave no directives to airports as to how they should enforce the ban or its exceptions for undue hardship, so the situation at airports at home and abroad has been chaotic.

People in my circle of friends and acquaintances are among the 500,000 legal U.S. residents who will be denied re-entry under Trump’s proposals.  There are very large Persian communities all over the United States whose families will be enormously disrupted by this villainy.

America is supposed to be better than this. America is better than this. But Donald Trump and his backers are not. They represent everything this country is supposed to oppose.

 

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.