If Donald Trump had his way, Nawres Hamid would never have been allowed into America. Hamid was the U.S. military contractor killed on a military base in Iraq on December 27.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack. Indications are ISIS, which is said to “operate a small insurgency” in the area, may have carried out the deadly rocket attack. Despite the lack of evidence, Trump blamed Iraq’s next-door neighbor. “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will,” Trump said days later.
A week later Trump assassinated Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian official, pushing Iran and the United States to the brink of war.
The irony is Trump started the war over Hamid’s death, but he would have never let him into the country in the first place.
Trump’s presidential campaign whipped up hatred towards immigrants like Hamid, called for them to be barred from entering the United States, and then as president Trump put in place policies to block them from immigrating here.
In December 2015, Trump called for “the total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” following a mass shooting in San Bernardino by a Muslim-American couple
Trump’s proposed Muslim ban would have prevented Hamid from coming to America. Hamid, who was born in Iraq, immigrated to the United States in 2011 with his then-pregnant wife, Noor Alkhalil. He was buried in the Sacremento Muslim Cemetery on January 4 in servicesdescribed as “devastating to witness.”
But Trump wouldn’t have stopped Hamid just because of his Muslim faith. Trump tried to stop all Iraqis such as Hamid from entering the United States.
One week after being inaugurated on January 20, 2017, Trump issued a ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations traveling to the United States, including Iraq. The ban created chaos at U.S. airports. Hundreds of travelers were kicked off flights, scores of travelers who were in-flight when the ban was enacted were detained and handcuffed upon arriving in the United States, and at least 60,000 visas approved by the State Department were revoked.
Among those denied entry were Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who risked their lives working for the U.S. military, just like Nawres Hamid. U.S military officers say the interpreters went through “extreme vetting,” pushing back against Trump’s false charges they were not properly screened.
Within one day judges blocked parts of Trump’s first travel ban. Later, Iraq was dropped from revised bans apparently after senior officials had to explain to Trump that Iraq’s help was needed in fighting ISIS.
The Supreme Court upheld Trump’s third ban despite his biased statements such as “Islam hates us,” and their assimilation is “very, very hard.” The ACLU blasted the decision by the High Court, packed with far-right ideologues, as a “travesty.”
Trump was far from done, however. He took more measures to deny military translators such as Hamid entry into the United States. Having regularly referred to Syrian refugees as poisonous snakes during the 2016 campaign, Trump in office drastically cut refugee admissions by 80 percent. Refugees from Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq were cut by some 95 percent.
Trump’s antipathy towards refugees, Muslims, and countries like Iraq meant that while 325 Iraqi military translators immigrated in 2016, just two Iraqi interpreters were allowed entry into the United States in 2018.
This shows Trump’s breathtaking cynicism. He deploys vicious racism against people Hamid. Trump would have denied him entry despite him risking his life for U.S. forces. And then uses his death to provoke another “forever war” with no evidence of Iran’s involvement in his death.
Welcome to the 2020s.