Before the federal courts put a stop to President Trump’s broad travel ban, in which people from seven “Muslim-majority” countries were stopped, detained at US airports, and deported back to their country of origin, widespread chaos and dislocation circled the globe. A major component of Trump’s hastily written Executive Order, was a full, total prohibition on entry for refugees from Syria, where the terrorist group ISIS has conquered vast swathes of territory.
For those fleeing the war zone created by ISIS in that country, their desperate attempts to find safe haven and hope in the United States, where Lady Liberty “lifts her lamp beside the Golden Door”, were utterly dashed by this White House edict.
Among the thousands of Syrians trying to flee the evil ISIS regime, where women are subjugated into the role of sex slaves, a Draconian interpretation of Islamic law is rigidly enforced, and individual freedoms are nonexistent, are Syria’s gravely endangered LGBTQ population.
For them, falling into the hands of ISIS means swift, summary, and certain execution, either by stoning or being hurled off a high-rise rooftop. ISIS, without hesitation or preamble, has repeatedly posted online video footage of its captives being done to death in the most violent, horrific manner they can muster.
Their particular venom has been reserved for its LGBTQ victims, who are seen as antithetical to everything the group espouses and represents.
While ISIS’ depredations are well-known, what’s not as readily apparent, is the tortuous screening process that was already in place during the Obama administration, for any Syrian refugee looking to emigrate to our shores.
This two-year-long procedure, in which every possible aspect of an applicant’s life is closely scrutinized, is said to be among the most thorough vetting anywhere in the world. However, with the sudden onset of Trump’s travel ban, LGBTQ Syrians, who submitted to the long, arduous examinations and checks of our immigration system, instantly found themselves once more in jeopardy of life and limb.
The ACLU reported several cases of LGBTQ Syrians being caught up in the travel ban, which Trump signed as they were actually aloft, having been previously cleared for entry into our country.
Upon landing, these frightened, stateless individuals were met by Customs agents, and detained, to be returned to Syria forthwith. Imagine the reception that awaited them, forcibly sent back, as known gays, lesbians, or transgender people, right into the waiting clutches of their would-be executioners? This is what Trump has wrought, and this is the blood that will stain his hands.
There has barely been an atom or a tittle of mention about the unique, deadly plight of these “refugees of the rainbow” in the vast mountain of media coverage given Trump’s actions in that first tumultuous week of his Presidency. No sympathetic audience lent its ear to the tragic consequences these individuals had to suffer, their only crime being their immutable, inborn sexuality.
As the Trump administration rushes to draft a more “judgment-proof” version of its travel ban, White House spokesman Stephen Miller declared that Trump’s authority in the matter is absolute, and “will not be questioned”. No consideration is evident from the Executive Branch that the United States, as a matter of policy, is complicit in abetting ISIS in carrying out its stated mission of homicidal terror.
This is Trump’s America in 2017. This is how Lady Liberty’s lamp gets extinguished.