Tag Archives: muslim ban

Sorry, ‘legal’ Muslims aren’t safe… even if they’re doctors

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This one’s for my doctor family members/friends.

The topic of the Muslim ban has been a rollercoaster for American Muslims. The 9th circuit shot down its reinstatement after Trump saw them in court (heh), but there’s talk of it going higher up and people are concerned about being asked about social media passwords, more countries being added to the list, wedding shopping being put in jeopardy, CBP officers just being all around jerks (seriously, click on that link, you need to hear it). In my own neck of the woods, there were reports of people being harassed for proof of legal status in certain neighborhoods that were clearly racially targeted.

Regarding all of this, a relative of mine stated that those who haven’t done anything wrong have nothing to fear and that if the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is giving someone with a green card trouble, then there must be a reason.

It’s always so, so hard to see your loved ones forget where they came from.

The fact of the matter is that no, this country does not treat us all equally and with liberty and justice for all. No, working hard is not enough nor is it the monopoly of those who “came here legally.” (Why, this entire country was founded on “illegal immigration,” my dears.) Undocumented immigrants work just as hard as the rest of us, and often times, harder than many of us. That being said, doing things the legal way, the right way, following orders and keeping your head down is. not. a. guarantee. Especially when you are a person of color.

Just ask the hundreds of unarmed black people shot by police, the dozens taken down by a bullet in the back.

Just ask the 26 (confirmed) people wrongfully detained after September 11th when their only crime was being Arab/Muslim.

I’m not one to beat the “If you’re a doctor, you’re a paragon of citizenry and humanitarian good” narrative (sorry, Mom, you tried), but one must admit that most immigrants who come to this country and break their backs putting themselves through the physical, psychological, and financial torture that is residency tend to be good people. Whether or not there’s parental pressure involved, once you go through a few months of getting coughed on and yelled at and sticking your fingers in places you’d rather not stick them, you can’t help find yourself in it for the long haul. The men and women that go through the grueling process of immigrating here and then dedicate themselves to serving their new countrymen and saving their lives… well, those are the kind of the people who help make our country great (although, I guess we could blame them for keeping the Baby Boomers so healthy and able to destroy our economy and morale, but that’s another blog post). We’re all agreed on that, right? Right.

Well. Not all.

 

Are all immigrant doctors fantastic people? Nope. (Sorry, Mom, some of the people I’ve met in your social circles suuuuuck.) But they’re not going to waste their time going through medical school, taking the USMLEs, getting a visa/green card/spouse, going through immigration, going through the hell that is the match process… to plan a terrorist attack or spread Sharia law. (Although they won’t say no to a new halal joint close enough for them to grab a late night snack on call.) Speaking of that hell, the match process is like the Sorting Hat on Steroids Even Lance Armstrong Would Not Go Near. Cleveland Clinic, one of the best hospitals in the country, probably knows this woman’s childhood cat’s middle name and what her dad ate for breakfast (and how all of that will affect her ability to practice medicine). Basically, the fact that she’s even a doctor at Cleveland Clinic means she’s been vetted and she’s a good enough person to stick her fingers in patients at one of the toughest places to get a residency.

Unless her dad ate the plain Cheerios over the Honey Nut, she didn’t do anything to be forced out of the country except be a Muslim. And we’d do well to remember that.

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Trump rumored to add more countries to ban list, including Pakistan, Egypt, and Afghanistan

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Hearing through the grapevine (the immigration lawyer grapevine, to be exact) that there is a draft of an executive order which adds the following countries to the current ban:

  • Egypt
  • Lebanon
  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Southern Philippines
  • Trans-Sahara (Mali)
  • Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral

Rumor is that this executive order is to be given tomorrow. It is uncertain whether this will affect green-card holders (as in, permanent residents who have already been extremely vetted) and dual citizens. The last executive order did/does not apply to dual citizens who hold US citizenship, but no word on whether this one will be the same. (This is of particular importance to my family and me, as most of us are dual citizens of the United States and Pakistan.)

Note that a few of these are not Muslim-majority areas (the Southern Phillipines do have a sizeable Muslim population, however). I’m not sure whether this is specifically designed to make it seem as though this is not targeting Muslims, but Rudy Giuliani has already confirmed for us that a ban on Muslims has always been Trump and his administration’s intent. There is also the fact that the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv has assured Israel that its (Jewish) citizens holding dual nationality with one of the banned countries would be exempt.

I hope these rumors are mistaken. But as my fiancé just noted, “it’s starting to feel like Trump just executed Order 66.”

Making America racist again (even though it never really wasn’t)

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Trump’s Muslim ban is having consequences for more than visa and green card-holders from the seven listed countries. My best friend and cousin, Faiza, was returning from her honeymoon in Belize Saturday evening, when she was held for hours at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. I caught sight of her husband’s Facebook post while at a birthday party (her brother’s 40th, incidentally):

I saw the post not long after he put it up, so my jaw dropped when I saw how widely it had spread the next day. What amazed me even further was how many people in the comments were accusing Javad of lying. I know the people involved personally… Indeed, very closely. I can assure you that they are both U.S. citizens; Javad was born here and Faiza lived here her entire life (the only reason she wasn’t born in the US is because her mother was visiting family at the time of her birth). Both of their families are from Pakistan, a country that is not even part of the executive order.

I’m not sure what part of this does not “add up,” as I saw multiple people on the post claim. Muslims and people of Arab and/or South Asian descent have been harassed and intimidated at airports consistently for the past 15 years (yours truly included). What happened to Javad and Faiza isn’t surprising to me in the least, but it’s alarming all the same. While speaking with Javad, he pointed out how the customs personnel did the maximum they possibly could to harass these two and get away with it. The CBP kept Javad and Faiza long enough to cause them distress, but not long enough for them to miss their flight. Had they missed it, the airline or airport would have been forced to accommodate them for a new flight as well as lodging, which would have required a report as to why they had been held so long (the reason being none).

While my cousin did make her flight in the end, this isn’t something to be brushed off. Children were detained at these airports, and I can’t tell you how many petitions I’ve seen for international students being kept from returning to complete their studies (many of them on scholarships). Even if your country of origin (or your family’s) is not on the list, what’s to stop Trump from adding them overnight? What’s to stop him from adding all Muslims, regardless of nationality overnight? Honestly, what’s to stop them from escalating it to camps? A Trump crony did mention the Japanese-American internment camps as precedent back in November.

Just as an executive order like this emboldened those customs personnel to harass my cousin, the executive order— indeed, Trump’s election itself— has emboldened bigots all over to harass, intimidate, and even attack Muslims. Take the shooting at a Quebec City mosque last night. Richard Spencer, despite being punched in the face twice already, had this to say in response to that tragedy:

Don’t kid yourself by thinking that Spencer or those who shot up the mosque are outliers. The fact is that they’re not not, and that there’s a reason the alt-right movement is taking so much power. You need to take that power back (yes, you). Figure out how to contact your representatives and tell them about your concerns. Demand they take action. Here are a couple different scripts you can try if you’re stuck on what to say (along with some good ideas from Laura Silverman’s Twitter feed):

It’ll only take a few minutes of your time, but it could affect us all for far longer.