Judge Orders Trump To Bring Deported Iranian Man Back To U.S., Be His Butler

The president explains his governing philosophy

When we're making lists of heroes who came out of the fight over Donald Trump's Stupid Immigration Order (January 27, 2017 - ?), Sally Yates will be right at the top of the list, followed by all the lawyers who got their butts down to the airports to volunteer to help those stuck in limbo, and then of course the judges who know what the Constitution means. And among that number, a special place of honor for U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee (for whom junior high couldn't have been easy), who ruled Sunday that an Iranian man deported to Qatar while his case was pending be returned to the USA. Judge Gee found that he would suffer “irreparable harm” if he were excluded, so U.S. immigration authorities better go fetch him.

Iranian citizen Ali Vayeghan, who has legal permanent resident status, was detained at Los Angeles International Airport for hours after flying in Friday from Dubai on his way to be reunited with his son, a U.S. citizen who lives in Indiana, and his wife, who came to the U.S. four months ago. But while he was in the air, that executive order got signed, so Vayeghan was suddenly an illegal human being, and the ACLU of Southern California took his case. Judge Gee was not pleased at his deportation while the case was being decided, and ordered immigration authorities to go get him and bring him back, and maybe arrange for a nice neck massage from Jennifer Aniston, who seems to live on an Emirates Airlines Airbus A380-800 these days anyway. The LA Times calls the ruling "an infrequently used but not unprecedented legal remedy."

Oh, and don't the details of Mr. Vayeghan's ordeal sound awfully familiar by now? His older brother and his niece came to the airport to meet him, but never actually saw him:

Vayeghan was set to land at 7:15 p.m. Friday, but he never emerged from customs, his niece said. The family waited at LAX until after 3 a.m. Saturday, with scant information about his whereabouts. Attorneys were not allowed to meet with him, the ACLU said.

The ACLU and L.A.-based immigration attorney Stacy Tolchin stepped in, filing a habeas corpus petition on Saturday and the legal aid organization published a copy of the petition online. Attorneys argued that Trump’s executive order violated Vayeghan’s due process and was hostile to a specific religion, Islam, putting it at odds with the 1st Amendment’s establishment clause.

The lawyers secured the necessary paperwork for his release, but it arrived about 45 minutes too late. Vayeghan was put on a plane to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

The New York Times added that Mr. Vayeghan didn't want to get on the flight to Dubai, but Immigration and Customs agents forced him to, according to his niece.

Gee's order ruled that Vayeghan's ACLU attorneys had demonstrated

a strong likelihood of success in establishing that removal violates the Establishment Clause, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and his rights to equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

Gee certainly tells the government it better get its act together:

So now, everything's going to be OK, right? Oh, never mind, this is the Trump administration casually throwing people's lives into disorder because they're Muslims, and we have to be kept safe from scary people who pray funny, even if it means they're separated from their families. As it turns out, by the time Gee's order was handed down Sunday, he'd already left Dubai on a connecting flight back to Tehran. It's unclear what will happen to him now that he's returned to Iran. His family in the U.S. are urging him to come back and stay in the U.S., since he has legal permanent resident status, but he told his niece he's reluctant to get on any more planes. If he had all this trouble the first time, what else could the Home of the Brave do to him?

But isn't it worth it, knowing that a joyful family reunion was prevented, all to keep us safe from the microscopic chance that instead of being a loving 52-year-old man who misses his family, Mr. Vayeghan was actually a terrorist bent on wholesale slaughter of Americans? The Vayeghan family's minor inconvenience is really a small price for them to pay for some Trump supporters to be able to blather on in comment sections about putting American lives first.

[LAT / NYT / Matt Hamilton on Twitter]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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