Queens activists scramble to protest Muslim ban

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The hastily written and implemented ban on entry for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries was met with swift condemnation and protests by Queens activists and other opponents at Kennedy Airport.

On hearing that arrivals from those countries were being detained by Customs and Border Patrol, thousands of protesters descended on Terminal 4, joined by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and partner organizations.

Of the seven counties in the ban – Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Somalia — there have been no terrorist attacks committed by these nationals in the United States.

The 9/11 assault was committed not by refugees, but rather visa holders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Egypt – none of which are subject to the ban.

The perpetrators’ most infamous attack by refugees – the Boston Bombings – hailed from the former Soviet Union. Other attacks, such as San Bernardino, Orlando and last year’s bombing in Chelsea were perpetrated by American citizens.

Though the order appears to build on a 2011 order by President Obama to enhance vetting from these nations, the former policy did not cause the large-scale cancelation of travel for otherwise innocent persons.

Proponents of the ban have conflated the presence of fundamentalist terrorists in these countries as an indictment of every person visiting the United States.

Conflicting numbers from the White House and Justice Department have put the number of visas canceled by the ban at between 60,000 to 100,000.

Queens-based activists, having worked for years with immigrants – both documented and undocumented — joined the protests. Jackson Heights-based DRUM led a coalition of community groups to declare Kensington, Brooklyn, a “hate-free zone.”

Kensington is one of New York’s most diverse neighborhoods and also the home of some 300 refugees of genocide from the Darfur region of Sudan.

Organizers discussed the implications of current federal policy on their lives. Israt Audry, a youth member with the group, decried the policy moves as “normalizing the blatant Islamophobia and anti-immigrant policies and practices” and a gateway to “attacking the rights and lives of all marginalized communities.”

The effort follows up a similar gathering in December to declare Jackson Heights a “hate-free zone.”

Sadhana, a Richmond Hill-based progressive Hindu organization, joined the Jan. 28 rallies at JFK. Sunita Viswanath, of Brooklyn, a board member of the organization, spoke at that rally, citing concerns that Indians were likely to be mistaken as Muslims and subject to bias attacks as a result of the ban.

Also in Richmond Hill, the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, citing the assault of Rabeeya Khan, a Guyanese Muslim Delta employee at JFK, condemned President Trump’s actions and rhetoric and joined the Jan. 28 protest.

The group also organized a Feb. 2 town hall at its offices in Richmond Hill to discuss the immigration order with the community.

The temporary ban, currently 90 days, which also includes a 120-day ban on refugees and permanent ban on Syrians fleeing civil war, was in theory imposed to review screening and vetting of persons from those countries.

A lack of clarity on the review practice and unclear language that has excluded even documented persons – green card and visa holders — has stoked suspicions that the ban will be made permanent.

There are also suspicions that the hastily worded and implemented order was a loyalty test for federal agencies, with the State Department and Justice Department noting concerns (and facing prompt retaliation) and Customers and Border Protection and Homeland Security reportedly continuing to enforce the ban in spite of a court injunction.

Activists groups have also been rallying for New York City to secure data pertaining to the IDNYC municipal identification program and protect the future of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program known as the Dream Act.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

can you read or listen correctly? from Queens says:
Yo, Calvin, read my lips - there is NO Muslim ban. But there is a TRAVEL ban from 7 countries because we cannot properly vet their emigrants. Try telling the truth once in a while. It will get you less of the attention you crave, but otherwise will not hurt. Enough of your lies. I am sick of them.
Feb. 13, 2017, 10:06 am
Helton from Flushing says:

First of all, as someone who worked for this agency, our name is Customs and Border Protection, not Customs and Border Patrol.

Secondly, it would nice if our elected representatives would spend 100% of their energies on people that deserve it - U.S. citizens and people with valid U.S. visas.

Everyone else should get the hell out of our country because they have no legal right to be here. They are not immigrants, they are illegal aliens who have broken U.S. law. They have no rights.

My wife entered the United States on a work visa 25 years ago and became a naturalized citizen 2 years ago. She did it the right way.

Why should she go through the time, effort, and money to become a citizen when you think that all of these illegals should not?

And you and all of our misguided politicians should be ashamed of yourselves for advocating on their behalf. When's the last time you rallied so hard for the rights of U.S. citizens?

Why don't you tell all the illegals that this country is a nation of laws, and that our laws are to be obeyed by everyone?

Or do you disagree that our country is a nation of laws?

One final thing Prem - Do you have sympathy for all U.S. citizens who have had their Social Security Numbers stolen by illegal alien, who then used the stolen SSN as their own? Or is that not an important crime?
Feb. 13, 2017, 10:42 am
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
WELL SAID Helton............I need not add anything.

STOP confusing immigrants with people here ILLEGALLY. Two different things, but the powers that be like to lump them all together for their misguided agenda and VOTES.
Feb. 13, 2017, 10:57 am
Walton from queens says:
Notice that the underhanded Prashad DID NOT report on the multiple thousands of Polish patriots who recently marched against the mu.slim invasion of Europe with not a single report on this website about it. This only proves they will report only what they want people to know.
Feb. 13, 2017, 1:08 pm
does he bug the President from Queens says:
Our savior Calvin knows that the travel ban was hastily written. How does he have this information. It seems that he should be investigated by the Secret Service. He must be bugging the Oval Office or hacking into Gov't email. How else would he have this knowledge.
Feb. 14, 2017, 11:55 am
Cutvisas from Queens says:
No need to ban them, just cut the amount of visas given out to these terrorists. If they don't know how to behave, they shouldn't be allowed in!
Feb. 14, 2017, 12:41 pm

Comments closed.


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