On Mondays, I usually write about something related to travel, my favorite subject. Right now that seems like rather a quaint idea, in light of the thousands of people who were caught up in the executive order banning travel from seven Muslim countries in the middle east. I had hoped that this blog could remain free of politics, and going forward I hope I don’t feel the need to write about things like this again. But I cannot stay silent.
The travel ban is still in place, and although federal judges have ordered a stay on the ban in several areas some with visas or green cards are still not being allowed in or being detained. Hundreds of lawyers have volunteered their time to assist the detainees, and other judges have ordered that lawyers have access to those with permanent resident status. Customs officials in some locations however have refused to obey the judges’ orders. Tens of thousands of citizens spontaneously gathered at airports all over the country to protest the ban, and protests are continuing.
Here are just a few examples of how the travel ban affected people trying to enter the United States, although its effects were more far-reaching and devastating than the few examples can provide:
- A Syrian man, a permanent resident with a green card, was not allowed to re-enter the United States. He is the sole caregiver for his father, who remains in the U.S.
- A 77-year old grandmother, from Iraq, who has not seen her family here for over four years, was locked up, detained upon her arrival at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. and sent back to Iraq.
- An Iranian woman, who has held a green card for the past five years, and had her citizenship interview scheduled in two weeks, was denied entry into the country.
- Legal permanent residents, returning home after funerals, vacations and study abroad were stopped and questioned about their religion, their views of Donald Trump and denied entry.
- Interpreters who risked their lives to serve with the U.S. Army in Iraq, and who were promised safe travel to the U.S. were stranded at airports in Iraq; one was held in handcuffs for over 17 hours. Others’ family members were denied entry to reunite with their husbands and fathers.
- Two of the persons held for hours at O’Hare airport were an 18-month old and a newborn. Both are U.S. citizens.
Does the ban make us safer? Not one of the 9/11 hijackers came from any of the countries that were banned, nor did the Orlando shooter or the San Bernadino shooters. No American has ever been killed by anyone from any of the banned countries. I sure don’t feel any safer because of the ban. In fact, it makes me feel a whole lot less safe than I ever have.
The ban is a disgrace. It is shameful. It is hateful and cruel. It is illegal. It is evil.
I’m still reeling from this action. I did not serve, nor my husband, nor our parents and ancestors to see this happen in our country. I will close with a quote from Dan Rather, written on Saturday:
I still remain optimistic that the vast majority of American people will recoil and speak out at this unwise policy. But whether we like it or not, as the detentions and impediments already springing up make all too real, this is the stated de facto policy of the United States today. Every day that it goes on, every day the chaos, confusion and heartbreak deepens, America loses more pieces of its soul and standing in the world.