Immigration challenges

My father emigrated to the United States in 1950, fleeing China in the wake of the Communist Revolution. He was on the one of the last, if not the last, transport ships to leave China bound for the US. Judging by this wikipedia page, he may have been on the same transport as the US Consul General from Shanghai, “who a few days earlier had hauled down his flag, the last flying over a diplomatic post on the Chinese mainland.” The featured image is the ship’s passenger manifest (my father’s name is at the bottom of the page, so it doesn’t appear in the cropped photo).

Two days ago, an executive order was issued that restricted entry of all refugees for four months, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry for for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. This New York Times article annotates the details of the order. It hits close to home for me, echoing the Chinese Exclusion Act that restricted immigration based on a particular nationality – Chinese – until it was repealed in 1943. And it’s simply not acceptable.

Nor is it legal, apparently. Last night, a federal judge in Brooklyn stayed the executive order. Meanwhile, spontaneous protests emerged in arrivals terminals in airports including those in Boston, New York, Washington and San Francisco. And, in the middle of the night, a federal judge in Boston imposed a seven-day restraining order against the executive order.

It’s days like this that I feel entirely inadequate to make a meaningful contribution. I’m not a constitutional lawyer and my elected officials agree on this point. But I will still do what I can. Today, I joined a protest march in Boston’s Copley Square, organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Different energy to this crowd than the one for the Women’s March; much more defiant. 

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