On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that has had an immediate and devastating impact on two travelers arriving at New York City's JFK Airport . According to details contained in a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed today, January 28, 2017, the petitioners—Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi—arrived at JFK last night, were detained, and are still in custody. The writ is attached here. It is worth the read.
Here is a brief summary. Both men are citizens of Iraq. Both were traveling to the United States after the federal government conducted a series of security checks and deemed that neither posed a threat to the United States.
Darweesh was granted refugee status due to his association with the United States military. According to the writ, Darweesh worked on behalf of the United States government from 2003 to 2013 as an interpreter, electrical engineer and contractor. Evidence suggesting that Darweesh's life was in danger included the killing of two of his friends at work.
Anti-American sentiments in Iraq and those willing to commit violence in support of those sentiments made it dangerous for Darweesh and his family to continue to live in Baghdad—so they relocated. Threats continued. Darweesh ultimately sought to obtain protection by applying for and being granted refugee status as a recipient of an Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).
The officers claim that they are not the ones to ask. They say that the attorney has to ask President Donald Trump.
Darweesh is currently at JFK where he is not being allowed contact with legal counsel. He has legal representation—which is how the writ was filed.
The American Civil Liberties Union and several other groups filed a lawsuit this morning on behalf of Daweesh and Alshawi. They were prepared and expected this kind of outcome when they learned of Trump's issuance of an executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country.
His attorney, who is at the airport, has asked the Customs and Border Protection officers why they will not allow Darweesh to speak with him. The officers claim that they are not the ones to ask. They say that the attorney has to ask President Donald Trump.
We encourage you to read the attached writ. It is written in language that is not overly legal and gives a good assessment of what has transpired in the past 24 hours as well as the process involved in obtaining legal entry into the country for both plaintiffs.
The ACLU wrote a detailed 27-page document analyzing the constitutionality of the assertions made by Trump while on the campaign trail. That document can be found here. It, too, is worth reading because it gives some insight into the willingness of this administration to violate the Constitution. This Executive Order signed by President Trump is included in the writ.
The LA Progressive will continue to cover this breaking story as more information becomes available.
Publisher, LA Progressive