Labeeb Ali worked as an interpreter for Americans in Iraq. That means he is a target for anti-American groups.
For that reason, lawmakers in the US made it possible for him to move here, providing the visa which allows him to leave the danger of Iraq, a danger magnified immensely by his association with Americans. So he has passed months of background checks, acquired that visa, has a current passport (not always easy in his part of the world), and he had a plane ticket on a flight from Qatar to Dallas. Once his visa application cleared and his plans solidified, he tied up loose ends in Iraq and sold virtually all of his property.
Thanks to the president’s indiscriminate, irrational, and quite possibly illegal executive order, Labeeb Ali was not allowed to board his flight.
Because the president couldn’t be bothered to consult with government agencies who know something about these issues or to take the time to develop immigration policy that has a chance to achieve his purported goals, his executive order blocks anyone — regardless of circumstance — from seven Muslim countries from entering the US. And that includes people like Labeeb Ali.
Never mind that if this man actually were a terrorist, he has already had ample opportunity to commit heinous attacks on large groups of Americans. And never mind that he faces a very real threat of violence from terrorists, tragically ironic considering he’s being prevented from entering the US because Trump and his supporters claim banning him is necessary to prevent acts of terrorism. Trump doesn’t care that this man is about as far from a terrorist as someone can be. Because he can’t be bothered to tell the difference between terrorists and all Muslims. They all look alike to him.
Trump picked seven Muslim countries where he doesn’t have business interests, and where we don’t have particularly deep diplomatic ties that could gum up the simple black-and-white of his plan. He banned immigration because his supporters are scared of “Islamic extremism,” though they aren’t concerned with how it might be a threat, nor do they want to be bothered with realistic solutions for preventing an attack on our soil. No… Trump just needed to show them that he’s keeping the Muslims out, as promised.
But here’s the thing: Our country made promises and commitments to folks like Labeeb Ali. It’s disgusting and dishonorable to leave them hanging — perhaps literally, it’s sad to say — because they’re in the way of Trump’s steam-roller of executive orders.
But it’s going to get worse. The word’s going to get around that America turned its back on commitments to people like Labeeb Ali. When Trump decides to send troops to fight ISIS, they’re going to have a hard time finding people willing to put their lives on the line to help Americans for a promise that they can resettle stateside. And that’s a reality that could very well cost American lives.
In the meantime, it’s a reality that is hurting people who deserve much better than the closed doors with which we’re greeting them.
“They have killed my dream,” Labeeb Ali told The Washington Post. “They took it all away from me, in the last minutes.”
Also published on Medium.