Immigration Ban Ends America As We Know It
JFK airport erupted this weekend as Trump’s travel ban left many across the globe stranded or facing the mid-air shock that upon landing they would be placed in detainment instead of with loved ones. Here’s how it happened and an investigation into what so many new border walls, both concrete and figurative, could mean for the future of “the land of the free.”
Governor Cuomo spoke for the majority of New Yorkers this weekend when he was quoted as saying: “I never thought I’d see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep…This is not who we are, and not who we should be.”
Roughly 5,000 New Yorkers flooded the airport in protest, where a total of at least 17 people were detained. A newlywed was blocked from returning to her husband in Florida, an ivy-league journalist from Iran simply trying to fly her seriously ill father to care was stopped, and an army hero was held for 18 hours. A young woman on a legal visa even tried to commit suicide rather than suddenly be forced to leave the life she had worked so hard to build here.
Lawyers showed up in droves to work pro bono through the night, setting up impromptu law offices directly on the airport floor. In a striking interview with one such top immigration lawyer, Mana Yegani seems visibly choked up next to the newly freed aforementioned Army Hero.
“Imagine being put back on a 12-hour flight and the trauma and craziness of the whole thing. These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here.”
As Trump faced television cameras and stated that “Everything is working out very nicely”; in the alternative reality the rest of us call daily life massive protests were actually breaking out. Major airports including Newark, Boston, Colorado, Dallas, and Los Angeles saw thousands of emotional protesters crowd their halls to stand with our displaced and rightfully panicked, brothers and sisters. While appeal courts were scrambling all over the country to find ways to aid the suddenly stranded; companies as big as Google were scrambling to get hundreds of employees back overseas before they’re affected.
And even as state appeal courts made minor strides, such as the courthouse here in Brooklyn that held an emergency hearing allowing a four-day stay for those being threatened with permanent deportation.
Many refugees who have gone on to find success here in America are grieving the loss of yet another homeland.
Let’s stop sugar coating this. Talented journalists, business people, and even top dissenters of the very regime we claim to be against are being punished simply due to the irrational fear of the religion most common to their birthplaces.
So how did this happen? Even with executive orders, we have a system of checks and balances, right? Something this huge should take longer than an overnight action right before most government agencies close for the weekend. The Trump presidency is looking more and more like an oligarchy in just the first ten days, as brash orders like this remain detrimental to our place in the international community. The Iran foreign ministry is already planning a cap on American visas as a push back.
Canada seems to be taking our place as the self-proclaimed “land of the free”.
While the Trump administration was drafting plans for border walls and shutdowns; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it clear that Canada will step up as the US suddenly begins retracting an age-old promise engraved on the Statue Of Liberty. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith” he tweeted on Friday, “Diversity is our strength.”
Whether you care to call it an immigration ban or a Muslim ban; amid other acts like scrambling to wall in our entire southern border or push the Dakota Pipeline forward ; it’s important to note that these orders are being passed at a time when most of the senior staff at the U.S. State Department are almost completely vacant with the few positions that are filled, still unconfirmed. You can be sure that senior advisers would have slowed down, if not put a complete stop to many of these egregious orders.
As the Guardian recently pointed out: the malaise seen around filling these incredibly crucial positions is likely purposeful. It allows ultimate power to go directly to Trump’s inner circle in the first weeks of power. There is literally no one left to check him but his high profile clique: Steve Bannon, Micheal Flynn, his son in law Jared Kushner, and Jack Priebus.
The definition of a democracy is, as anyone with a first-grade education knows, is a system rife with checks and balances. The definition of an oligarchy is a form of government in which most or all power rests in a few members of the dominant class i.e. the wealthy.
It’s hard to imagine a bunch of multi-millionaires being able to even acknowledge let alone empathize with the struggle of someone say, stuck in a heavily unemployed coal mining town in the Appalachian Mountains, or working their way to earning a visa out of a war-torn country.
For a president who ran on so much machismo, is he really this frightened? Who are these new border laws really protecting anyway? With so much focus on keeping imaginary enemies out; maybe we should focus on those who are trying to trap us in.