Trump’s ‘Due Process’
While, I have often cried out against the callousness with which this administration speaks about or treats refugees, legal and undocumented immigrants, Dreamers and, yes, people from “shithole countries,” I will this time let two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Nicholas Kristof do most of the talking.
Referring to President Trump’s suggestion that “the aim of his crackdown on immigrants is to ‘defend Americans’ from ‘savage,’ ‘worst of the worst’ intruders who kill Americans or at least are ‘dangerous criminals,’” Kristof writes in a recent New York Times column:
What does Trump’s crackdown look like in real life? In Lawrence, Kan., the other day, immigration agents handcuffed a beloved chemistry professor as he was leaving his home to drive his daughter to school. Then they warned his crying wife and children, ages 7 to 14, that they could be arrested if they tried to hug him goodbye, and drove off with him — leaving a shattered family behind.
Kristof goes on to describe the horror and trauma experienced by the family of chemistry professor Syed A. Jamal, 55, who arrived from Bangladesh 30 years ago, who has been a model member of the Lawrence, Kansas, community –- a man “who seems just about the least dangerous person in America…”
Jamal now sits in jail pending deportation back to Bangladesh.
But this man must have certainly committed serious crimes, the reader may ask.
Kristof lists Jamal’s “crimes”:
Several years ago, immigration authorities ruled that he had overstayed his visa, but the Obama administration exercised discretion, and (like countless others) he was allowed to stay if he reported in regularly. So Jamal had a temporary work permit and checked in with the immigration authorities, most recently on Jan. 7. Everything seemed to be fine — until the immigration officers decided for some reason to blow up his family’s life.
While “President Trump, How Is This Man a Danger?” is a must read in its entirety, Kristof’s interlocutions say it all:
But President Trump, you say that these people are “criminals, drug dealers, rapists” and that we must be protected from them.
Thank you, President Trump, for defending us from such “bad hombres” — even if Professor Jamal hasn’t been accused of any violence, in contrast to your (recently ousted) staff secretary.
Thank you, Mr. President, for shielding us from the “worst of the worst” chemistry professors.
While President Trump promised to crack down on, round up, jail and deport millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers, the Washington Post reports, “the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions…” with ICE “increasingly grabbing at the lowest-hanging fruit of deportation-eligible immigrants to meet the president’s unrealistic goals”:
The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.
Some examples of the “low-hanging fruit”:
A Virginia mother was sent back to El Salvador in June after her 11 years in the United States unraveled because of a traffic stop. A Connecticut man with an American-born wife and children and no criminal record was deported to Guatemala last week. And an immigration activist in New York, Ravi Ragbir, was detained in January in a case that brought ICE a scathing rebuke from a federal judge.
And then there is the Kansas chemistry professor, Syed A. Jamal.
The Post, however, provides ICE’s take on Jamal’s “crimes”:
ICE said he arrived in 1987 on a temporary visa. He was ordered to leave the United States in 2002, and he complied, but three months later, he returned — legally — and overstayed again. A judge ordered him to leave the country in 2011, but he did not. ICE said agents took Jamal into custody in 2012. He lost his appeal in 2013.
Many defend, even applaud, the administration’s tougher, no mercy, no “statute of limitations,” compassionless approach.
But many others still cling to the ideal that common sense, mitigating circumstances, proportinality and, above all, fairness and humanity are still part of our justice system.
Some call the Trump’s administration approach, “due process.”
But in the wake of Trump’s “due process” cry for accused pedophiles, sexual predators and domestic abusers, what, pray tell, is “due process” about swooping down on, handcuffing a chemistry professor in front of his family and threatening his kids with arrest if they try to hug him goodbye?
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