On September 26, WBEZ speaks to Ahmed Rehab on CAIR-Chicago’s response to the new travel ban.
Ahmed Rehab: “We said this is Muslim ban 3.0. Nothing has changed in terms of the impotence and intention behind this proclamation which is to ban Muslims from coming into the country. And it wasn’t just CAIR, but really it was a lot of different civil liberties and organizations that see through this.”
“The only difference is that there has been an effort to add some window dressing to mitigate against potential their mind challenges in the court as there have been before so by adding Venezuela which really just applies to diplomats coming in. And North Korea which in fact is already frozen. It’s a frozen situation as far immigration and visit from North Korea.
It’s just there to be able to say well look it’s not a Muslim ban even though it is.”
“This is nothing but political theater, that this is a cynical approach to the very serious matter of national security playing into the fears of people and pretending to offer them some sort of vigilantly, never done before method of protecting the country even though it is entirely impractical and nonsensical.
As a matter of fact, to me, it’s sort of smells like the beginnings of a totalitarian regime where you have henchman at the door that throw people back out simply because they were born in a certain place and because of anything in their actual portfolio or profile which is the way you ought to be dealing with hard intelligence and national security matters. So very concerning at this higher level and we’ll get into the detail and technicalities but can’t lose sight of the larger picture political cultural changes that are happening in this country as a result of that.”
“…and that’s what their betting on, desensitizing us to these types of policies and proclamations so that we may still be angry but we sort of run out of energy to keep doing the same thing whereas they remained focused on rolling out essentially worse executive orders and proclamations in the very first one. However, regardless of whether there are protesters on the street, I should let your listeners to know that we have Travelers Assistance Project still in place, very much in place. We’re committed to support this program in the long run and what that is a website, tapus.org, where anybody coming from these countries or others where they believe they or their loved ones may be targeted at port of entry can fill out all the information, in terms of the travel details, we will have an attorney on call present to assist them.”
“This supposed coincidence that after 90 days of scientific analysis they ended up exactly at the same sensational place that Trump was on the campaign trail essential implementing a Muslim ban is mind boggling if that is what scientific research and analysis have brings us back to. I don’t buy it. What I see happening here is essentially a chess gain, where the administration is attempting to stay one step ahead of those who may sue and the courts by changing the policies and rendering the former ones essentially moot so that the process can start all over again while claiming a political victory to their base. This is what it’s about. But in reality when you think how it implements and affects people on the ground. In addition to the examples given by Mercedes, you have a situation where someone has been living in this country for many years under a valid visa, work visa lets in a blue chip technology firm, a creative, productive employee. Once their visa expires, if they’re from certain countries on this list, they’ll have to escort themselves out and never come back again.”
“They say they’re going to roll out some new policies about refugees in the coming days but so far the existing executive orders and court decision stand. One thing I wanted to add is that when you look at what is happening now, we have to be able to think about what kind of political culture is being created in America. There will be debates about whether this is a Muslim ban and these are debates I’m happy to contribute to and believe we will provide a compelling argument to our favor. But there is no debate whatsoever from either side that this is about batting people simply because of where they were born. That is established in the letter of the proclamation. Once you have a situation where national security widdles down to that sort of blanket arrangement, you’re creating a sort of untermench, you’re creating a sort of untouchables, sort of class of people that just because they were born somewhere, in the tens of millions of people that category, they are suspect, that is highly problematic not just legally, but in terms of how America morally positions itself in the world.”