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Supreme Court Decision Rules Grandparents are Family

In yesterday’s news, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an effort by the Trump Administration to ban travelers from six mostly Muslim countries who have family members already here. This is the second compromise action by the justices in the Trump Administration’s nearly six-month effort to severely limit the nation’s refugee program as it rather arbitrarily relates to visitors from six Middle Eastern countries.

The President’s March 6 order put a temporary freeze on both visas for travelers from predominantly Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya, and Yemen and the admission of refugees into the United States. After federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the federal government from implementing the order, the Trump administration went to the Supreme Court, which on June 26, allowed the order to go into effect as long as people with U.S. ties were exempt.

The next question became: Which travelers and refugees should be allowed to enter the United States under the court’s order? The Trump administration indicated that eligibility applied to a parent, spouse, fiance, son or daughter, siblings, son-in-law or daughter-in-law of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. That definition prompted the state of Hawaii, which has led the challenge of the travel ban, to argue the Trump administration’s interpretation of close family relations. Any rule that maintained grandparents are not part of a close familial relationship was suspect, the state said in its brief to the court.

This recent Supreme Court action means that the administration must continue to accept those with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives in the United States. An argument that refugees assigned to a U.S. resettlement organization were also exempt from the ban was put on hold pending an appeal. That means the administration can block many refugees as long as they lack other U.S. ties, like relatives here or prior work with a U.S. company.

This latest court decision is temporary while the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers a separate appeal on the same issue. The high court is set to hear oral arguments on the travel ban in October.

Do you support a discriminatory immigration policy where all that matters is where you come from and not what kind of person you are?

Before answering that question, I would like to share with my readers some things that Muslims have done for America.

  • Muslim, Fazlur Rahman Khan was known as the “Einstein of structural engineering”. He pioneered a new structural system of frame tubes that revolutionized the building of skyscrapers. Islamist terrorists may have blown up the World Trade Center, but without Khan’s innovation of the framed tube structure, the twin towers probably wouldn’t have been constructed in the first place. Nor would the Trump Tower for that matter.

  • During the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, an ice cream vendor ran out of dishes. At the next booth, Syrian Muslim immigrant. Ernest Hamwi was selling something called zalabia, a waffle-like confection. He rolled a waffle into a conical shape to contain the ice-cream, thus inventing the world’s first edible cone.

  • Ayub Ommaya, the Pakistani-born Muslim neurosurgeon invented an intraventricular catheter system that can be used for the aspiration of cerebrospinal fluid or the delivery of drugs to provide chemotherapy directly to the site of a brain tumor.

  • In 1999, Ahmed Zewail won the Nobel prize for Chemistry.

  • Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

  • Salman Hamdani was the first responder on 9/11.

  • Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan was the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He died while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  • Let us not forget World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Muhammad Ali, who by the way, President Trump met, posed for a photo with, and called a friend, in 2007.

These are only a few examples.

Most of us are children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren of immigrants who choose to migrate to America arrive seeking economic opportunity and democratic freedom. Some came to this country to escape persecution elsewhere. Why should oppressed Muslims be treated differently? In conflict laden Middle Eastern countries, no ethnic or religious group is suffering more at the hands of terrorists than the Muslim citizens of those countries. As a free and just society, we cannot blame an entire people, nor an entire religion, for the acts of fringe fundamentalist terror groups.

What happened to "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I will lift my lamp beside the golden door?" These fabulous words of Emma Lazarus are inscribed on our Statue of Liberty. There are no exceptions.

“Betrayal of Justice” is a work of fiction, but, it seeks to call attention to the fundamental issue of religious persecution. It also challenges each of us to pause, take a breath, and ask what "equal justice under law" means in America.

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