Saturday, January 28, 2017

Unintended consequences - will @SamaritansPurse be zipped up in Iraq?

Unintended consequences. When people do unto you as you have done unto them, business can suffer.

As I previously noted, U.S. companies such as McDonalds, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks aren't that popular in Mexico right now.

Because of a new executive order (which I'll get to in a minute), Google and Netflix are having some issues around the world.

But I'm not going to talk about those companies, because they have been very, very mean to our President.

But what about someone who has been very supportive of our President - Franklin Graham - and his organization - Samaritan's Purse?

If you haven't heard of it, Samaritan's Purse is a well-known Christian relief organization that provides services throughout the world, including in Mosul, Iraq.

In addition to monetary donations, Samaritan's Purse needs people.

Christian medical personnel, especially lab technicians, are urgently needed to staff the hospital for deployments of three weeks or longer. Particular needs include trauma/general surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, operating room nurses, intensive care unit nurses, surgical technicians, and operating room sterilization staff.

So, for example, if you are a Christian doctor and a U.S. citizen who wants to help the people in Iraq, you can apply to serve. Presumably Samaritan's Purse will help with the necessary paperwork, including passport and visa issues.

Unfortunately for Samaritan's Purse, their job just got a little tougher:

...pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

This is an excerpt from Friday's executive order, and while other portions of the executive order (most notably section 7, biometric exit) have more applicability to me personally, the section above matters to a lot of people.

Specifically, those associated with countries referenced in 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12). While the law refers to a separate list of countries maintained by the Government, two countries are specifically called out - Syria, and Iraq.

"But that doesn't matter," you may say, "since it refers to people from those countries who want to enter the United States. It doesn't have anything to do with people from the United States who want to go to those countries. Samaritan's Purse can still send people to Iraq - right?"

Sure - as long as Iraq allows it. But what if Iraq follows the lead of one of the other affected countries, Iran?

Iran says it will ban all US citizens from entering the country in response to President Donald Trump's executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement published on state media Saturday.

Iran is among seven countries whose nationals are barred from entering the United States for 90 days under Trump's order.

But Iran is Iran, and Iraq is Iraq, right? Iraq loves us, right?

Well, let's see how much Iraq loves us now:

Lawyers for two Iraqis with ties to the US military who had been granted visas to enter the United States have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and the US government after they were detained when they arrived in New York Friday....

The two Iraqi men named as plaintiffs in the suit are Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who worked as an interpreter for the US during the Iraq War, and Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi. The suit said Darweesh held a special immigrant visa, which he was granted the day of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, due to his work for the US government from 2003 to 2013.

The lawsuit said the US granted Alshawi a visa earlier this month to meet with his wife and son, whom the US already granted refugee status for their association with the US military.

So follow this. These two men actively worked with the United States during the war in Iraq - one of them for ten years. Needless to say, these men were not popular with some segments of Iraq's population - both the secularists who supported Saddam Hussein and the religious people who now support ISIS. Presumably the one place where they WOULD be accepted would be the United States - and upon their arrival in the U.S., they were detained.

How do you think the Iraq government, responding to domestic political pressure, will respond to this?

How will Samaritan's Purse respond to this? And is it possible that the past statements of the leader of Samaritan's Purse have ended up causing problems for his workers in Iraq?

P.S. Before you say that this action of President Donald Trump has never ever happened before, remember the plight of the Vietnamese boat people. Of course, back in those days, it was the Republicans who wanted to bring the South Vietnamese into the country, and the Democrats who wanted to keep them out.

By Christmas of 1975, an estimated 130,000 Vietnamese refugees had been sponsored by churches and families who provided them with new homes in the United States. According to an article in Vietnam magazine, an American publication, the only state that initially resisted the influx of boat people was California, where Jerry Brown was then in his first term as governor. Brown’s administration reportedly attempted to prevent planes loaded with refugees from landing at Travis Air Force Base.

Brown received a stinging rebuke from White House photographer David Hume Kennerly, who had photographed the evacuation. According to the article, Kennerly said Brown had “no compassion for your fellow human beings.”
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