February Fever

Saturday, February 4th, 2017 09:08 pm
It is amazing how, over the span of one week, so many things - some good, some not so good - happened all at once. One of the more important events within the last week was the travel ban on the  Muslim countries that Trump signed last Friday afternoon, which led to a total breakdown and chaos at airports almost immediately the entire weekend and the week that followed. Friction between the DHS and the State Department as to how to enforce this ban led to Federal judges issuing injunctions (stay) all around the country's airports to lift the restriction, lives of those who are impacted by the ban rippled from top-down from adults to toddlers and little children of not even school-going age being turned away at the airports or being frisked and detained (really? a baby toddler is a national security risk to the US? How did the DHS come to that conclusion?). Folks who had lawful refugee visas to enter were literally refused entry, passengers being turned away or pulled out of security lines at airports and airlines, husbands and wives forced to separate literally a lifetime away. And scenes of lawyers from ACLU and various Congressmen (and women) literally forcing their way into the airports to represent these people, various members of the Congress abhorred the ban, and ordinary folks were at airport arrival halls screaming and protesting and cheering for the release of these people to be admitted in.

I have to say, as a recipient of one of those visas, it is already hard enough getting one at the Embassy, and when you arrive here you get to be grilled by the Immigration officer, so as one of the former recipients, totally understand the frustration and the trauma to be grilled by DHS acting on the presumption you obtained the visa illegally. As if you are not mentally stressed already. Literally many were refused admission because DHS was literally enforcing the order to the book. Granted, their authority comes from executing the President's orders, but fortunately there were enough federal employees at DHS and State Department who found alternative ways to voice their dissent with this latest order. And the latest news is that a Federal Court Judge from Washington State challenged the validity of this order and held that this ban is unconstitutional. So it is going to be appealed and will go to Supreme Court. Happily, as of right now, the official statement from DHS and the State Department is that they will re-issue the revoked visas from the 7 countries and they will not be upholding the ban. So, all is semi normal for the time being, until the Donald decides to go for a jugular next week via the Twitter channels. Hang on, folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

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