Sunday, January 29, 2017

Judge stays part of Trump's refugee ban; AAPI clap back at Executive Order

Canada will welcome refugees denied entry by the U.S.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP has stirred up a hornets nest with his executive order banning refugees and people coming from seven countries from coming into the U.S.

As his order went into effect, thousands of people began amassing at the country's airports protesting the presidential decree.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with other humanitarian organizations filed a lawsuit Saturday morning on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained at JFK International Airport in New York. 

By the evening, in an emergency hearing, Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York granted a stay that would prevent the government from deporting immigrants who are already in U.S. airports but are being detained. 

The decision does not overturn the executive order so it leaves in place the ban on people who are currently abroad. What it does is “preserve the status quo” for people who came to the US in the immediate aftermath of the executive order, after having been granted visas allowing them to legally come to the US (before the order was signed).
UPDATE includes number of people impacted and statement from AAAJ
“It was an illegal detention, this was a discriminatory order from President Trump, and we will continue to fight for all of the refugees, immigrants and non-immigrants,” said Mark Doss, the supervising attorney for the International Refugee Assistance Project.

One of the detained men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, worked as an interpreter for the U.S. Army when it invaded Iraq in 2003 and later as a contract engineer for the U.S.

For his safety, he was granted permission to come to the U.S. Upon his arrival at JFK Friday night, he was detained along with another traveler from Iraq named Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi. 
Darkish was released first Saturday afternoon and then later in the day, Alshawi was also freed. An unknown number of people are detained at U.S. airports.

When Judge Donnelly asked U.S. lawyers for a list of all those being detained, the attorneys said they didn't have the list and that it would take time. "Work it out," she responded.

Besides the two men at JFK, there were reports of 11 more people detained at the airport.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, hundreds of international travelers were impacted by Trump's executive order: 109 were in transit and denied entry; 173 were prevented from boarding flights to he U.S. All in all, 375 travelers were impacted.

Trump's executive order signed Friday afternoon is supposed to make America safer from terrorists who come into the country as refugees.

“We have an obligation as Asian Americans to speak up when the most shameful parts of our history stand to be repeated," said Karin Wang, vice president of programs and communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.

"The unfair targeting of Muslim immigrants is a haunting reminder of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882: during a period of intense anti-Chinese violence and persecution, it was the only U.S. law ever to ban immigration of a specific ethnic group,” she stated in a press release.

“The language in this executive order demonizing Muslims is reminiscent of the rhetoric that led to the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, which was one of the most flagrant violations of civil liberties in American history," said Megan Essaheb, assistant director of immigration and immigrants’ rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC. 

“We cannot forget the fear mongering and hysteria which lead to the incarceration during World War II where more than 110,000 innocent people, mostly U.S. citizens, were incarcerated solely on the basis of their national origin.”

Since 9/11, the U.S. has admitted 784,000 refugees into the country. According to the Migration Policy Institute, during that time, exactly three refugees were found to have links to terrorism — so, approximately .00038 percent of refugees in the U.S. have had ties to terrorism. Two of these refugees were caught while trying to leave the country to join extremist groups abroad. All three are currently in prison.

What's puzzling about Trump's ban is that the countries named in his ban, none were involved in the terrorist attack on 9/11. Most of those involved in that attack were from Saudi Arabia.

The perpetrators of other recent attacks in the US that have been linked to Islamic extremism were also not from the seven countries:
  • The killer of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June 2016 was a US citizen whose parents were Afghans
  • The two people who shot 14 dead in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015, were a U.S. and a Pakistani citizen
  • The Boston marathon bombers who killed three and injured many more were ethnic Chechens.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his country will welcome the refugees turned away by the U.S. He also intends to talk to Trump about the success of Canada’s refugee policy.

Trudeau reacted to Trump’s ban of Muslims from certain countries by tweeting Saturday: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”

Meanwhile, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has scheduled a press conference Monday, 1 p.m. in Washington D.C. to file their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Trump's ban.