The hateful and idiotic executive action signed by President Donald Trump banning people from Muslim countries from entering the United States is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who are personally suing Trump, and others, on behalf of two individuals impacted by the order.
The individuals in question, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alsha wiare both citizens of Iraq. They were detained at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York for no other reason than their nationality. Individually both men have a legal right to enter the country. Alshawi was on his way to Houston, Texas where his wife and child both live and are both legal residents of the United States. His wife, Duniyya Alshawi, and her brother both worked for US contractor Falcon Security during the war, for which local insurgents labelled them collaborators. After her brother was murdered by a bomb in his car, the Alshawi family fled to Iraqi Kurdistan and filed for refugee status.
Darweesh was fleeing Iraq due to over a decade of working for the government of the United States from 2003 to 2013 as an interpreter and engineer. His occupation was discovered and his life fell into immediate danger. Under Trump’s regime the government shows its gratitude for help by illegally detaining those who previously put their necks on the line for the interests of the United States.
Named in the lawsuit brought by the ACLU along with Trump are with the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security John Kelly, the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Kevin McAleenan, and the CBP’s New York Field Director James T. Madden.
The Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project Omar Jadwat said in a statement:
“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue.” @OmarJadwat
— ACLU National (@ACLU) January 28, 2017
After conducting standard procedures of administrative processing and security checks, the federal government has deemed both Petitioners not to pose threats to the United States. Despite these findings and Petitioners’valid entry documents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) blocked both Petitioners from exiting JFK Airport and detained Petitioners therein. No magistrate has determined that there is sufficient justification for the continued detention of either Petitioner. Instead, CBP is holding Petitioners at JFK Airports solely pursuant to an executive order issued on January 27, 2017.
Essentially the two men are being held at the airport, but there is not a legal framework in place to do anything with them. The scenario is akin to the Tom Hank’s movie “The Terminal” where he was not allowed to leave the airport, lest he face arrest.
While Trump has asserted that terrorists are attempting to enter the United States illegally there has been no evidence to substantiate his claim. Furthermore, both Abdulkhaleq and Darweesh possessed all of the paperwork to enter the United States legally. Darweesh has a Special Immigrant Visa obtained on Jan. 20, 2017. Alshawi has a Follow to Join Visa obtained on Jan. 11, 2017.
There was absolutely no reason to detain these men other than Trump’s order which is highly discriminatory and unconstitutional. At this time both men are still being held at the airport with no resolution in sight. The ACLU’s initial lawsuit is surely the first of thousands to be brought against Trump as his policies are further enacted, and those lawsuits will surely pile up and clog up the legal system. This, unfortunately, will suit Trump just fine as while the cases await resolution the individuals will remain detained.
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.