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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Rama Issa-Ibrahim, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), was already in the midst of a crisis before the news broke Monday that the Supreme Court had announced a stay of the preliminary injunctions against Trump’s Muslim ban. The Supreme Court’s decision allows the administration to enforce the third, latest version of the travel ban that bars citizens of six majority-Muslim countries (plus North Korea and some Venezuelans) from entering the United States, as appeals wind their way through the 4th and 9th Circuit Courts.

A large number of Issa-Ibrahim’s clients are Muslim women from Yemen (on the ban’s list), she explained on a joint press call with the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). There is a devastating civil war raging in Yemen, and clients were so visibly shaken by reports of famine and the death of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh that her staff had “to bring in our social worker to de-escalate the situation, to process those feelings. Then just a few hours later, the Supreme Court decision [was announced.]”

It makes an already tragic situation worse, eliminating these and other Yemeni nationals’ ability to bring family members fleeing the conflict to the United States. Issa-Ibrahim—who is from Syria, another country on the list—doesn’t even know when she’ll next see her own father.

Camille Mackler, director of immigration legal policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, emphasized just how uncertain the results of the Supreme Court’s decision are nearly a day after their ruling. As of Monday evening, neither the Supreme Court nor the Department of Homeland Security offered any guidance to Customs and Border Patrol officials at airports or in consulates in the impacted countries. In response to the potential confusion, NYIC has reactivated the No Ban JFK email address and hotline, where anyone from or with family in Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia can call for legal advice.

Said Mackler, “This stay on the preliminary injunctions leaves many immigrants in limbo and terrified. Many people are planning on traveling during the holiday season and are scared to travel out of the country, not knowing whether or not they will be allowed back. While these injunctions only scratch the surface of the larger legal battle against the ban, we will resist this latest assault on our liberties, and prevail.”

The next legal steps include oral arguments in front of the 4th and 9th circuits on Wednesday and Friday of this week for both preliminary injunctions. Those courts will decide whether to uphold them or strike them down. If the Supreme Court upholds the injunctions, they will not go back into effect until either the Supreme Court refuses to take the issue on appeal or they grant the appeal request and make a final judgment in the case.

“This decision is nothing less than a dereliction of duty from our nation’s highest court,” said Albert Fox Cahn, legal director of the New York chapter of CAIR. “This ruling reminds us that we can’t simply rely on the Supreme Court to stop President Trump’s marginalization of Muslims and other minorities. It is incumbent on lawmakers at every level to take a stand against this bigoted ban. Let us be clear, the justices have not ruled on the merits of the ban, and this decision is far from the last word. The fight goes on, and we’ll do everything we can to oppose Muslim Ban 3.0.”

As the appeals continue, NYIC, AAANY and CAIR are taking their cases not only to the courts, but to the streets and the halls of Congress, drawing on their mass mobilization skills honed after the first Muslim ban to help fight this one. Murad Awawdeh, vice president of advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition, emphasized that his organization was activated immediately after the first ban, drawing thousands of people to a protest at JFK Airport on the first day of the ban, 30,000 to Battery Park the following day and nearly 100,000 people participating in actions in the 14 days after.

“It is entirely un-American and unlawful to use the pretext of national security to discriminate against people based on race or religion,” Awawdeh said, and “nearly a year after we rallied at JFK and at Battery Park in response to the first attempted Muslim ban, we will continue to fight against Trump’s plan to turn bigotry into policy, while standing strong for human dignity.”

As of Tuesday morning’s call, Mackler and Awawdeh had not received reports of airport detentions, but said lawyers and advocates are standing by ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Non-lawyers in New York City can show their support at a rally against the ban scheduled for Thursday, December 7, at 6pm in Washington Square Park. CAIR chapters across the country are planning a variety of rallies and protests, which will be announced on their website and social media channels.

The No Ban JFK email is jfkneedalawyer@gmail.com and the hotline number is (844) 326-4940.

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

 

If Boss Trump is headed for defeat, he's getting his revenge early. His revenge upon his deluded supporters and the people they love, that is. Trump's re-election campaign now consists mainly of what epidemiologists call "super-spreader" events: large-scale rallies of unmasked, non-socially distanced Trumpists yelling in each other's faces while the Big Man emits a non-stop barrage of falsehoods, exaggerations, and barefaced lies.

Let me put it this way: If, say, the Rolling Stones decided to put on free concerts at airports around the country, they'd likely end up being taken into custody and deported as undesirable aliens. Of course, they'd also draw far bigger crowds than Trump, but that's not the point. The point is that Trump's actions are reckless and immoral; the peacetime equivalent of war crimes.

"Covid, covid, covid, covid, covid," he hollers. Trump claims that the United States is "turning the corner" on the pandemic, and that the accursed news media will quit reporting Covid-19 fatalities come November 4. He claims that health officials are motivated by greed because "doctors get more money and hospitals get more money" if they report that the virus was the cause of death.

Surveys have shown that more than a thousand physicians and nurses have died fighting the disease nationwide.

As ever, what he accuses others of doing is an excellent guide to the question: What would Trump do? Answer: he'd steal the silver dollars off a Covid victim's eyes and demand an investigation of Joe Biden

According to the Washington Post, the Trump campaign organization signed an agreement with officials in Duluth, Minnesota to limit attendance at a September 30 fly-in rally, in accordance with public health guidelines. Hours before the event, it became clear that no effort was being made to honor the agreement; some 2500 Trump supporters bunched up without masks on the tarmac, ten times the agreed limit.

Health Department officials' protests were simply ignored. Three days later, Trump himself was taken to Walter Reed Hospital by helicopter. Three weeks after that, the following headline appeared in the Duluth News-Tribune: "St. Louis County sees another record-breaking week of COVID-19 cases."

Any questions?

The Trump Circus subsequently performed in Janesville and Waukesha, Wisconsin in the midst of a record-setting pandemic outbreak there. "It took us 7 and a half months to reach our first 100,000 cases, & only 36 days to reach our second," the Wisconsin Department of Health tweeted. "In just two short months, the 7-day average of new confirmed cases has risen 405%."

But the show must go on. Trump regaled his Janesville audience with a veritable torrent of lies. The New York Times did a thorough fact-check of his October 17 speech. Reporters documented 130 false statements during Trump's 87 minutes onstage. Nearly three-quarters of his factual claims were untrue. The most egregious concerned Covid-19, probably because the disease represents his single greatest failure and most damaging political liability.

Another question: Does Trump count upon his supporters' invincible ignorance or simply share it? I fear it's a little of both. In Janesville, Trump made this absurd claim two minutes into his harangue: "When you look at our numbers compared to what's going on in Europe and other places," he said "we're doing well."

Any regular newspaper reader knows that this is simply nonsense. As the Times reports, "America has more cases and deaths per capita than any major country in Europe but Spain and Belgium. The United States has just 4 percent of the world's population but accounts for almost a quarter of the global deaths from Covid-19."

Germany, to choose the most striking comparison, has suffered only 122 deaths per million of its population, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has recorded more than five times as many: 686 per million. Neighboring Canada, meanwhile, is at 264 per million. Several Asian countries, have handled the pandemic even better.

It's a matter of capable leadership and public cooperation.

No wonder Trump appears to have succumbed to a case of dictator envy. "COVID, COVID, COVID is being used by [the 'Fake News' media] in total coordination" he tweeted the other day "in order to change our great early election numbers. Should be an election law violation!"

Yeah, well they all report the same World Series scores too. Furthermore, if Trump had good election numbers, he wouldn't whine so much. Has there ever been a bigger crybaby in the White House?

(In related news, Vladimir Putin has issued a mandatory mask mandate after a surge in Russian Covid infections. Go figure.)

Meanwhile, the rallies go on; a bizarre spectacle people treat as if it's normal. Trump has become Covid-19's Typhoid Mary, an Irish cook who unwittingly infected 53 people back in 1906.

But unlike Mary, he should know better. If anybody should be locked up, as his rapt admirers chant, it's the Super-Spreader in Chief.