On Thursday, two days after we celebrated the birth of our country and our freedom, President Donald Trump’s ill-considered refugee ban went into full effect.
One of the people affected is Laith Hammoudi, an Iraqi native who worked as a journalist and translator for McClatchy reporters covering the war. A resettlement agency is working to help Hammoudi emigrate to the United States. Because he has no relatives here, his case is complicated.
On the final day of its 2017 session, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider Trump’s travel ban in its 2018 session. That decision allowed part of it to go into effect, leaving open the question of whether refugees such as Hammoudi would be allowed to enter the U.S.
Under the Trump administration’s interpretation of the high court’s order, Hammoudi is barred, even though his visa process was nearly complete. If the justices uphold the ban permanently, he may never be able to enter the U.S. How unfair and counterproductive that would be.
Hammoudi put his life on the line, so Americans could gain a better understanding of a terrible war halfway around the world. Hammoudi is married with three children. He believes his home country isn’t safe for them. He has a sponsor here, Sacramento Bee reporter Adam Ashton, who relied on Hammoudi to help him report from Iraq.
“I still hope to go to the U.S. I still have hope that I’ll have a decent job and a life there,” Hammoudi said in a phone call to Ashton on Thursday.
The Trump administration should reconsider its stand. Hammoudi is the sort of person this nation and the city of Sacramento ought to welcome. If Trump won’t budge, Hammoudi’s fate, like that of many others like him, will rest with the U.S. Supreme Court. And that decision could turn on the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the swing vote in close cases. We hope Kennedy, a son of Sacramento, considers the fate of another man who deserves to be a part of Sacramento.