The photo above was the scene at JFK Airport in New York last night. On Friday, Trump signed one of his now-infamous ‘executive orders’ to ban Muslims from seven Middle Eastern countries, effective immediately. The hue and cry was tremendous, both here in the U.S. and abroad. Last night (Saturday), a federal judge, Judge Anne M. Donnelly, temporarily blocked a portion of Trump’s order, halting the deportation of those who have arrived in the U.S. with previously approved refugee applications or were in transit with valid visas. Judge Donnelly issued her ruling Saturday evening as a result of a habeas corpus petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the two Iraqi men who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday after Trump signed his order. Leonie Brinkema, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, made a similar ruling shortly thereafter. In fact, Trump’s order created havoc in many airports around the nation, as many who would be affected by his ban were already in the air, U.S.-bound, at the time he signed his order.
Many of the people detained at airports around the country were legal permanent residents, people who have jobs here, whose children attend school here … and under Trump’s order, they were to be detained and returned to the country from whence they arrived. It did not take long for protesters to arrive, and on their heels lawyers, brought together by the International Refugee Assistance Project, many of whom were volunteering their time and legal expertise in the cause of justice, the cause of humanity. This, my friends, is what we need more of … this show of compassion for others is what I thought our country was about to begin with, and this reaffirmed for me that at least some of us still have that spirit, and that there are some who will not allow the likes of Trump and his minions to crush that spirit.
Legally, the judges’ rulings mean that none of the people being detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can be sent back to the countries they came from, but it stops short of allowing them entry into the country, and they could be held in detention centers. CBP reportedly defied the judge’s rulings and according to several reports, some legal permanent residents were actually put on planes and returned to the country from which they arrived. It was, according to all, a night of chaos and there is still much dust to settle before all facts are known, but this, folks, appears to be the disjointed, unorganized sort of fallout we can expect from the new administration in Washington.
The response to Trump’s ban has been widespread, both in the U.S. and abroad. Predictably all Democrats in Congress are against the ban, and there are 22 Republican congresspersons who are either not in support, or only partly support the ban.
The international backlash:
- The United Nations urged Trump to reconsider his ban. “The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world,” the organization said in a statement.
- France attacked Trump’s decision as isolationist. French President François Hollande told reporters that Europe must unite and provide a “firm” response to the executive order. “When he refuses the arrival of refugees, while Europe has done its duty, we have to respond.”
- Germany has taken in more than 1 million refugees and migrants since 2015. The country’s leaders condemned Trump’s executive order. “The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbor is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said at a news conference in Paris. “I think that is what unites us in the West, and I think that is what we want to make clear to the Americans.”
- In the wake of Trump’s executive order, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to resettling refugees, saying that Canada “will welcome those fleeing persecution, terror and war regardless of your faith.”
- The Church World Service released a statement signed by more than 2,000 faith leaders decrying the “derogatory language that has been used about Middle Eastern refugees and our Muslim friends and neighbors. Inflammatory rhetoric has no place in our response to this humanitarian crisis,” they wrote. “The U.S. Refugee Resettlement program has been and should remain open to those of all nationalities and religions who face persecution on account of the reasons enumerated under U.S. law.”
Trump’s order should never have been put into place as it was. It should have been reviewed by scholars of Constitutional Law in order to determine if it met the test of constitutionality, and the potential ramifications needed to be considered. Right now, there are college students and families who have made their homes in the U.S. but are being detained and not allowed to return to their homes despite having a legal right to do so. This is an abomination, as is the man who signed the order on Friday. Trump claims that his ban is what it takes to keep Americans safe. If discrimination against people for no reason other than their nationality or religion is what it takes to “keep us safe”, then no thank you, Donald Trump … I will take my chances with being in danger. I am more afraid of the man with the bad hair who is sitting in the Oval Office than I am of any immigrant who comes to our once-great country.