The thing we feared has come upon us!
Last week, we saw Donald Trump and his cohorts quickly race to make his campaign rhetoric about shutting the country’s borders a reality.
With the stroke of his pen, Trump’s executive order, especially the one issued Jan. 27, 2017, suspending entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocking entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, took effect, creating confusion and heartbreak at all international U.S. gateways.
The New York Times on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, revealed just how quickly the rules issued to security officers at all major international gateways began affecting innocent lives.
The paper said that just hours after the order, refugees who were airborne on flights were pulled off and detained at airports; two Iraqi refugees were held at the JFK International Airport in New York, including one who had worked on behalf of the United States government in Iraq for 10 years; an Iranian undergraduate student heading to a U.S. university was barred from boarding a flight; a leading Iranian scientist Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi, who had been scheduled to travel to Boston’s Harvard University, had his visa suspended; and humanitarian organizations rushed to deliver bad news to refugee families who were about to travel.
On Twitter, Daniel W. Drezner, a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, posted an angry message after the executive order stopped the arrival of a Syrian family his synagogue had sponsored, according to MSNBC. In Cairo, five Iraqis and one Yemeni, all of whom had valid immigration visas according to airport officials, were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight headed to New York, The Associated Press reported.
Of course this ban is just the beginning. The order to round up and deport immigrants who have committed even minor infractions will kick in shortly as well, and the horror will be played out on TV screens nationwide.
The fear many felt throughout the Trump campaign based only on rhetoric has now become palpable with this new reality. And it’s only just over a week in the new era of “scapegoating the immigrants” on the El Trumpeto soap opera.
Now it’s time for immigrants all across this country to show just how powerful we are and how important we are to this country and its economy. It is time for “A Day Without Immigrants,” much like Sergio Arau’s satire “A Day Without a Mexican.” Whether legal or not, citizen or not, it’s time for all immigrants to rise up and send a clear message to those who believe that America will be great again without Black and brown immigrants.
You don’t need to march in the street. Simply do not show up for work or school and certainly do not buy anything for a day. This time is a time for unity and a time to stand up against the dictator that 62 million Americans, blinded largely by racism, have foisted upon all of us.
Let’s make one day this Black History Month, A Day Without Immigrants. Who’s with me?
The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc.