By Bill Parry
The New York Immigration Coalition has begun monitoring international arrivals at JFK International Airport after
the Trump administration announced a proclamation Sunday updating its travel ban hours before it was set to expire. Travel restrictions now include five countries that remain under restriction: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia while Chad, North Korea and Venezuela have been added to the list.
“Following an extensive review by the Department of Homeland Security, we are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States,” President Trump said. “We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”
The Supreme Court Monday canceled a travel ban hearing scheduled for Oct. 10 that would have examined two cases. The justices ordered both sides to file new briefs over whether parts of the issue have been rendered moot by the revised and expanded ban.
The New York Immigration Coalition organized a coalition of hundreds of lawyers and volunteers to assist travelers at JFK from over 20 countries who were caught up in chaos last January as the travel ban first went into effect. The attorneys set up a base camp in Terminal 4 with computers and fax machines.
“This is a dressed-up Muslim ban, the sole purpose of which is to double down on the Trump administration’s systematic and unconstitutional anti-immigrant agenda,” New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi said. “The president himself has previously referred to this as a ban, and Americans, who have taken a knee to protest racial injustice and every one of his attempts to divide us, will not be fooled. We will be at the Supreme Court in October just like we were at JFK with the same message. No ban, no wall, opportunity and justice for all.”
The new ban will take effect Oct. 18, eight days after the Supreme Court was scheduled to begin hearing arguments about the original travel ban. Camille Mackler, the legal initiatives director at the New York Immigrant Coalition, became the coordinator of the lawyers and volunteers at JFK.
“It continues to try to justify discriminatory actions based in law,” she said. “It is wrong.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said Trump’s latest version of the travel ban is just one part of the administration’s “ugly” agenda.
“With this latest iteration of the discriminatory and unconstitutional Muslim ban, coupled with the race-baiting of professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights and a reluctance to condemn neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, President Trump once again demonstrates that his views and policies are part of a white supremacist agenda,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said. “This is also a man who rose to national infamy by leading the ‘birther’ movement, which falsely claimed President Obama was not born in this country. Perhaps the truest indicator of the president’s white supremacist agenda is the fact that he is embraced by racists, Islamophobes, neo-Nazis, and bigots of all stripes who see his views as reflecting their own. Ten months after his election, instead of promoting the values that lifted up this nation, Donald Trump is still trying to divide Americans.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr