By Constance Guindon
By Constance Guindon
Toronto – Two Iraqi nationals, each possessing valid legal visas, are suing Donald Trump and the U.S. Government after being denied entry into the U.S on Friday.
CNN is reporting that Hammed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi, both Iraqi nationals, were detained by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials when they tried to enter the U.S. Their plane landed just after Trump had signed his executive order banning Muslims in certain countries from entering the U.S. They were still being detained as of Saturday morning.
Signed at the Pentagon one week to the day after Trump’s inauguration, the order calls for a total ban on Muslims entering the country from seven of what the Trump administration feels are high risk countries. Syria tops the list, followed by Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.
Darweesh and Alshawi, not known to one another, were on the plane when the order, titled “Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” was signed.
Both men have legal visas allowing them entry to the U.S. Alshawi’s wife and son were already granted refugee status by the U.S government and Alshawi was on his way to see them. His wife had secured refugee status for him as well.
Darweesh has a special visa, granted to him for working with the U.S. military during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Alshawi had been granted a special immigrant visa on January 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration, in honor of the work he had done for the U.S. government from 2003-2013.
Lawyers for the two men have filed court papers on their behalf, charging that the order, implemented in this instance, is illegal. “Because the executive order is unlawful as applied to the petitioners, their continued detention based solely on the executive order violates their Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights,” the court papers reveal.
Court documents also disclose that their lawyers as well as two New York Representatives were all refused access to the two detainees by the CBP. When the attorneys asked who they could call to gain access to their clients, the CBP authorities said “Mr. President. Call Mr. Trump.”
The plight of Darweesh and Alshawi has drawn the attention of lawyers from Immigration rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).
Director of the NILC, Karen Tumlin was quoted by CNN as saying, “Our courageous plaintiff and countless others risked the lives helping U.S. service members in Iraq. Trump’s order puts those who helped us in harm’s way by denying them the safe harbor they have been promised in the United States.”
When asked by CNN about the controversial executive order and the resulting lawsuit, immigration attorney and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, David Leopold, said “What this order does is take people who played by the rules who have been vigorously vetted and slams the door of the country in their face because of their religion.”