There will be no taxis at New York’s JFK [John F. Kennedy International] Airport after Donald Trump signed a vicious immigration ban. With apparently no idea of how the immigration vetting process works, the demented clown in the Oval Office slammed a chaotic and cruel travel restriction on seven countries. Trump is locking out the most vetted, most valuable immigrants from entering the United States.
Many of the people trying to come to the U.S. worked with the military as interpreters, risking their lives time and time again. If they remain in their country of origin, the Islamic State will likely kill them, and the new president will have their blood on his hands.
People go through extreme vetting with iris scans, security interview after security interview, medical exams, biographic reviews, and years of waiting for a promised visa.
None of the people in the forbidden seven countries were involved in the 911 terrorist attacks. In protest of their inhumane treatment, the New York Taxi Drivers Alliance said it would not make any pickups from the JFK on Saturday.
The official Twitter for the alliance tweeted:
‘NO PICKUPS at JFK Airport 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. today. Drivers stand in solidarity with thousands protesting inhumane and unconstitutional Muslim Ban.’
As thousands of protestors lined airport parking garages chanting against Trump’s ill-planned ban, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance issued this statement:
— Anjali Kamat (@anjucomet) January 28, 2017
Who are the banned people? Many are Yazidis, which is a pre-Islamic religion persecuted by the Islamic State [ISIS]. When the U.S. invaded, members of their community worked as interpreters. In a poignant article in the New Yorker, Kirk W. Johnson wrote:
‘Yazidis didn’t look at Americans as occupiers. If you were an interpreter, people would respect you more.’
An 18-year-old man named Khalas translated for U.S. soldiers. Working with troops in Tal Afar door-to-door, he was constantly fired upon, and one assault rifle hit the U.S. sergeant he was working with in the legs. Khalas took the soldier’s weapon and protected the two of them. Then, he dragged the soldier into the house and bandaged his wounds.
Another time, the young man was in a convoy following a Humvee hit by an I.E.D. Grenades rained down upon them. Johnson wrote that Khalas said:
‘There was no place to protect ourselves, but we had to take our friends who have died out of the Humvee.’
He dodged the deluge of firepower, helping “pry the bodies of three Americans from the wreckage.” This time he was shot, but it was a flesh wound, and he worked on, protecting our soldiers.
In 2014, the Islamic State began slaughtering Yazidis. Over 50,000 Yazidis faced genocide. Khalas and his wife Nada applied for a “Special Immigrant Visa.”
With bipartisan support, Congress created the program for 25,000 Iraqis with deep ties to the U.S. Johnson founded the List Project To Resettle Iraqi Allies, in 2007. He wrote in The New Yorker:
‘I coOrdinated the reconstruction of Fallujah for U.S.A.I.D., and personally lost colleagues to assassins’ bullets…As his [Khalis’] application wound through the gears of the U.S. bureaucracy, Khalas was required to submit documentation to prove that he was, in fact, an interpreter.
Khalas had to replace his letters of recommendation, but received letters from the Army Reserve and the National Guard saying:
‘Exceptional performance…[and] provided faithful and valuable service to the US Government, and like the other interpreters, faced threat as a result of their employment and association with the United States military . . . it is my opinion he does not pose a threat to the national security or safety of the United States.’
The two went through “background checks and interviews with agents from the Department of Homeland Security” and security interviews. They became entangled in our govermental red tape. He was finally released, but he had to remain behind waiting for a medical exam, more security interviews.
Finally, her passport arrived, but it was only valid until March 7th. Friday morning, Khalas bought her ticket to the Dulles Airport:
‘With a twelve-hour layover in Dubai. She departed at 2 a.m., Washington time, the following morning. Khalas knew about the proposed ban, but wasn’t sure if Trump would sign it that day, or whether it would apply to Nada.’
She took a chance. Her husband wept with worry:
‘She said she feels the same way as when she ran from isis. When she ran then, she only had her purse. She didn’t know if she was going to make it, just like now.’
Nada made it all the way through airport security, but at the gate, the FlyDubai people ripped up her ticked. Khalas got a text:
‘The flight crew sent her back saying they got orders that no Iraqis with American visas should be boarded.’
Check out the video feed from Buzzfeed below, via Twitter:
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) January 28, 2017
Featured Image: NY Taxi Workers Twitter Page.