President Donald Trump’s immigration order that temporarily banned emigration from certain Middle Eastern countries has drawn a lot of ire since he issued the executive action late last week. As the legality of the order has been called into question, many of his strongest supporters are raising red flags.
The Pentagon, now under the guidance of retired General James Mattis, is standing up to Trump’s order and demanding that certain Iraqis be granted entry into the United States.
The Pentagon’s list contains the names of Iraqi nationals that worked in support of the United State’s efforts in the war on terror. These are the interpreters and drivers, and those who allied with our efforts to eradicate ISIS and Al Qaeda.
President Trump’s ban would prevent them from immigrating within the initial 90-day period of his ban which went into effect on Friday.
This list of loyal foreigners is expected to number in the thousands. Many of these people risk their lives assisting the United States, and as troops withdraw they’re left vulnerable. Immigration is often the only way to protect them and their families.
“Even people that are doing seemingly benign things in support of us — whether as a linguist, a driver, anything else — they often do that at great personal risk,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Monday.
During the Obama administration, Congress implemented a program meant to provide these people with expedited visas.
As the totality of President Trump’s ban became clear, those concerned for the safety of these allies began voicing concern. When the Pentagon broke with the White House and announced their intentions to carve out exemptions, Trump’s team had a conundrum to deal with.
“I think we recognize that people who have served this country we should make sure that in those cases they’re helped out. But that doesn’t mean that we just give them a pass,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
“The Obama administration, I think it was 2009 let two people through the Iraqi program in. Those people came to the United States and tried to plan an attack in Kentucky,” he noted in an attempt to demonstrate the need for the blanket ban.
President Trump fired Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday night for refusing to support his ban. It remains unclear how he and his team will deal with his own appointee, Secretary of Defense Mattis.