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Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Except…

Photo by rchappo2002, Creative Commons Licensing.

The snow was falling nearly all of Friday night and well into Saturday at my home. So, I decided to take it easy and remain warm and cozy in my home. Then the news comes up with the latest actions of the week-old White House that just blew my mind in its scope and the outrage that followed on its heels.

I’m talking about the travel ban on people coming certain countries into the United States enacted this weekend. It created nothing but chaos in airports across the country as people coming from the listed countries were detained and, in some cases, denied entry.

It was depressing to see events unfold on news sites as stories of people being detained, sent back, or released began flooding the internet and media. The protests that sparked up at nearly every major airport or hub plunged that depression even further down into the depths of my soul.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that restricts access to this nation to travelers coming from six Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for ninety days and immigrants from those countries for 120 days. Additionally, n the case of Syria, those poor wretches fleeing the nightmare civil war are denied entry (and the freedom they pursue) indefinitely.

These are refugees that have spent years in the vetting process our government demands before obtaining official refugee status for entry into America. After all that time, they have now been denied at the gate on U.S. soil or in mid-flight.

Even green card holders were denied and some were detained as well — even though they were vetted and approved to enter, live, and work here with a green card. If they came from those countries listed, they had a problem. Students on student visas had similar problems at our nation’s airports coming back from vacations. They landed in the chaos inflicted by the new White House administration’s short sighted order.

As the outrage spread, other nations watched nervously as the Land of the Free shut its doors in the faces of people yearning to be free. Free from terror, free from war, free from oppression, and free from famine. Lady Liberty must be hanging her head in shame, her torch dimmed and lowered.

There is a fear that has been stoked, time and time again, by Mr. Trump during his campaign.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” he announced in a press release, still available on his campaign website. “[O]ur country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

His ban on Muslims, the idea he floated about then, has now become a sickening reality with the stroke of a pen. What he has done may or may not be legal. That is for the courts to decide. It is morally reprehensible, to say the least — an open betrayal to those that had been given the green light by the very government that said it was okay.

Image by Chuck Legge.

I would be a fool to say it isn’t possible for terrorists to enter the country. They have before, but not as refugees — the hardest status to achieve. A visitor or student visa is far easier to obtain. Protocols were enacted after 9/11 to screen people from areas known to have harbored terrorists. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Incidentally, Saudi Arabia was not included on that list.

That alone is very suspicious.

On a humanitarian level, the ban is a low blow and quite frankly goes against everything America stands for. We are a nation of immigrants. Many in the past, escaping the terrors inflicted by their home countries, were welcomed here to a new life of freedom. That is a huge part of our collective history. Now, we just slammed the door and yanked the welcome mat out from under their feet. Way to go, Mr.President. Way to go, sir.

Those protests have continued in our airports over the weekend, with one right in front of the White House itself. Good. Tell like it is, “You were dead wrong with this ban, President Trump.”

The actions taken by the new administration may prove to be a boon to the very group of people he opposes; the terrorists themselves. It could used as a recruiting tool to gain more fighters to their twisted cause. More lone wolves could pop up inspired the imposed ban.

There is a ray of light in the face of the darkness. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the Trump executive order in court. A hearing was immediately convened and a temporary stay was issued by Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly.

The order blocked the executive order from preventing refugees and immigrants, who had already landed in the U.S., from being deported. In many cases, the refugees being deported back to where they came from could very well cost them their lives. There was no ruling on the constitutionality of the order — yet. The issue remains very fluid.

The actions taken this past week by President Donald J. Trump are not the actions of a rational, sitting president of the United States. They are reluctantly, in my opinion, maneuvers taken by a would-be-dictator trying to create an isolationist police state. Far from the American dream and more akin to the dystopian nightmare of George Orwell’s 1984 — which has selling like hot cakes ever since Trump won the election. (The parallels are truly stunning.)

These acts are intolerable and inexcusable to allow to happen. I will do all I can to fight it in my own way. I will support the protesters and the honorable actions of the ACLU. Heck, I’m seriously thinking of joining the ACLU.