In 2008, when corrupt and insolvent financial firms on Wall Street were being bailed out by the U. S. taxpayer after a vote by Congress, the firms were simultaneously funneling millions of those bailout dollars as bonuses to the very executives who had played a role in the firm’s demise. The American people were told by our government that the bonuses had to be paid because they were part of a legally binding contract between the company and the employee and contract law is sacrosanct in the U. S.
Now flash forward to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017. The President issued a wide-ranging travel ban that set off chaos at the nation’s airports; disrupted thousands of lives; and presented lawful residents of the United States from returning to their families and homes after travel abroad. The President directed a 90-day suspension on entry to the U. S. by individuals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen; a 120-day suspension on refugees from any country; and a permanent suspension of entry of Syrian nationals.
Like the bonus participants on Wall Street, tens of thousands of the affected individuals held legally binding contracts with our government – either green cards giving them permanent legal residence in the United States or legal visas. But the immigrants’ contractual agreements with the U. S. were trampled and ignored.
For those travelling outside the U. S. when the surprise order came, they were barred from re-entry, detained at airports or sent back to a foreign country. For those inside the United States from the seven countries when the order hit – even those with properly obtained visas and green cards – they now had been stripped of their ability to travel, to see family abroad, attend a funeral of a loved one abroad, take part in university research or lectures abroad.
According to the lawsuit filed against Trump’s actions by the Attorneys General of the States of Washington and Minnesota, this is what our government did to legal permanent residents of the United States:
‘On January 28, 2017, a spokeswoman for DHS [Department of Homeland Security] stated that lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, would be barred from entry pursuant to the Executive Order…
‘On January 29, 2017, DHS reversed its decision through a statement by Secretary Kelly that purported to exempt lawful permanent residents from the Executive Order… Two days later, however, on January 31, 2017, the U. S. Customs and Border Protection, a DHS sub-agency, issued a statement entitled ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.’ Although it repeated Secretary Kelly’s earlier statement, it also confirmed in its ‘Questions and Answers’ section that the Executive Order applies to lawful permanent residents and that their entry would depend on receipt of a ‘national interest waiver consistent with the provisions of the Executive Order.’ ‘
Last Friday, Judge James L. Robart of the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Washington State held oral arguments on the case and issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which effectively blocked the President’s Executive Order. (See video of the oral arguments below.)
This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.