Let My People In

A few miles away from where I am sitting, people are being detained at Dulles International Airport. They came from Iran and Yemen after passing through American border control in Cairo, Egypt. Among the detainees are a 5-year-old American citizen of Iranian heritage and his mother who holds a “green card,” which means she is legally permitted to live in the United States and has a valid visa to enter the country. The reason these people are being held in an airport instead of being in their American homes is that their President, Donald Trump, issued an Executive Order which banned them from entering the United States until they have been subjected to a 90-day hold for additional vetting of their applications.

Thankfully, the Democratic Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Clinton acolyte named Terry McAuliffe, came to the airport with his Attorney General in tow to fight this dishonorable executive decision. The local news stations showed large groups of protesters–many sporting kippahs, in the throngs. This was the only proud moment I have had since the Women’s March last weekend, which drew an estimated three to four million people worldwide in protest of Trump’s presidency.

Who are these threats to American democracy trying to enter the country at this time? President Trump’s order expressly bans those from Muslim countries; and yet, interestingly enough, the countries with the most violent jihadis who might want to harm our citizenry –Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are two countries who are not evidently affected by this ban. The people most affected by the ban are students, researchers, technical experts and others who want to enter the United States to further their education and careers. They already have valid visas and therefore, could leave their Muslim countries and fly to the United States. Their problems only began as they departed their aircraft and found themselves at American Border Control desks.

Like Trump’s ill-advised insult to our Southern neighbors in the sovereign state of Mexico, he gave no thought to the ramifications of his actions worldwide. He should have asked the folks at the State Department what his reactions would cause elsewhere and he could have had he not demanded that their most experienced officials resign when he took office last week. The economic ripples of his arrogant inexperience will shortly become a flood of protectionist practices by other nations in response to Trump’s racist orders.

Whereas permitting foreign citizens entry to our country is not a guaranteed right, it has always been the policy to allow lawfully-abiding people from around the world the privilege to enter our country as our guests. The isolationist behavior by our new president which has its roots in racism is the same behavior by those Americans who refused to allow the victims of Nazi Germany to enter the country before and during World War II. Indeed, many of the people who already have their American visas whose lives are now on hold are thousands of Syrians escaping the horrors of their disintegrating country over the past six years courtesy of Russia, Iran and Bashar al-Assad. It is concerning because he could tomorrow ban Israelis from entering the country, or Asians, or anyone else for that matter, on a whim.

Trump claims he has no problem letting the “Syrian Christians” into the country now, but this comment only added to the confusion over his decision and merely highlights his hypocrisy. He also seems to have forgotten that he took an oath a week ago to uphold the United States Constitution and his actions since then have showed a remarkable and willful ignorance of what is contained in that document.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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