Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Heartbreaking Kind: On Executive Order 13769

I don't blog about this part of my life much, but I've worked at an immigration law firm for the past 6 years. Sometimes, when I tell people this, they say "Oh, that must be so heartbreaking!" And I explain that my firm doesn't really focus on the heartbreaking kind of immigration law—asylum or refugee cases, say—but on business immigration: visas and green cards for people who are coming to the U.S. to work.

At least, that's what I could say until yesterday.

Executive Order 13769 means that all U.S. immigration law is now "the heartbreaking kind." Before, I could say that I was dealing with laws that were strict but fair. Now, the laws are unconstitutional.

The official immigration-law term for "green card holder" is "LPR"—that's short for Legal Permanent Resident. The green color of the cards, like the greenbacks on our money, seemed to symbolize an unshakeable American promise: "Abide by our laws and principles, and you can live in the U.S. forever." The executive order has torn up those promises, so that LPRs and visa holders and dual nationals who previously experienced no trouble are now being turned away at the airport.

We are denying mercy to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, and denying justice to hundreds of thousands of other people with origins in Muslim-majority countries. This is a betrayal of American values and everyone should be concerned.

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