by William Teach | July 16, 2017 7:55 am
The Editorial Board of the Santa Fe New Mexican has decided to take a stab at immigration issues, more specifically one specific refugee, while mixing its metaphors
The U.S. should be a welcoming place
Tighter U.S. security and greater scrutiny of foreign visitors are not stopping the world from coming to Santa Fe this weekend in a glorious show of global harmony.
The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe is the antithesis of a U.S. that fears the world, desires to remain in isolation and keeps out Muslims and other “different” types of visitors and immigrants. What has happened in Santa Fe for the past 14 years — the coming together of master artists from all over the world — is a better version of the United States than one where foreigners are viewed as suspect.
The market shows that the U.S. can be an exception in the best way, by being the place where people of all cultures gather and share knowledge and their common humanity. Artists and musicians from Cuba are here, building relationships that can only help our two countries. Considering our past with Cuba — and the recent thawing of relations and the current president’s disavowal of closer ties — those relationships are crucial to the future.
This goes on for a bit, and you can see where it is going, right? The problem here is that these people are legally allowed in the United States, they’re here on vistors permits, much like if a U.S. citizen travels to other countries. Get this, though: if any of them commit crimes, they can be immediately escorted to the airport and sent packing. The Editorial Board uses this art exhibit as an excuse to attempt to protect another immigrant
As the folk art market was getting underway, this is what has been unfolding in Albuquerque. Kadhim Al-bumohammed, an Iraqi man facing detention and deportation, instead decided to seek sanctuary. Al-bumohammed, 64, had been told to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials with a packed bag, likely to be sent back to his home country of Iraq. He has not lived there since 1994. His family believes he would face persecution in Iraq because he aided the U.S. military during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 and later taught language and cultural awareness at California military bases. In Iraqi eyes, he is a collaborator.
Al-bumohammed can be deported — he has misdemeanor convictions on domestic violence charges — and the U.S. is pushing to kick out foreign residents with any criminal black marks. Such a blanket action, though, does not leave room for human compassion or even for rewarding those who risked their lives to help our troops overseas. Al-bumohammed faces serious health conditions, including having limited kidney function. He takes oxygen because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and must take medicine daily.
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Just a few black marks. Well, per the AP
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement Thursday that 64-year-old Kadhim Al-bumohammed (kah-DHEEM al-boo-MOH-HAH-med) was convicted in San Diego, California, in 1996 of a assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest in 1994.
The agency says Al-bumohammed also was convicted of domestic violence in Merced County, California, in 1997. ICE says that domestic violence made him eligible for removal under U.S. law.
Hey, beating your wife isn’t really a black mark, right? Right? Back to the editorial
Immigration policy can be a set of broad goals and principles, while still leaving leeway for common sense and compassion. Such a policy could leave in place those who are no risk to their neighbors and who, like Al-bumohammed, need medical care they likely will not receive in their home country. He has a wife who is a naturalized citizen and four U.S.-born children. We do not need to tear this family apart in order to keep the United States safe.
Here’s the problem: there is always some sort of sob story with people facing deportation, be they illegal aliens or refugees allowed in lawfully. At the end of the day, this is all on them. Not us. Illegals chose to come illegally/overstay their visas. Refugees are guests in our nation. And, if either group does something to end up on the radar of immigration officers, well, that is on them
Al-bumohammed’s case caught federal attention in 2004 when, federal agents likely renewing his green card found his misdemeanor violations and flagged him for deportation. Al-bumohammed lost three rounds of appeal to stay in the country and was ordered deported in 2010. But Iraq wasn’t accepting deportees, so he was allowed to stay as long as he checked-in annually, which Kitson said he has. He was scheduled for his annual check-in in September.
You can see in the editorial that they’re quietly trying to Blame Trump, but, the case started back under Bush, and the deportation order occurred on Obama. ICE agents are simply following the law. And everyone has their sob story. Try using a sob story with your employer when you’ve missed enough days to be terminated. See how that works out.
The United States is the most welcoming nation in the world. Too often, people take advantage of that.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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