Yesterday the New York Times profiled one of the victims of Donald Trump's travel/refugee ban...
For Mohammed, an Iraqi civil engineer, the cruelest experience of his life was not when his father tortured him for being gay. It was not when Islamic State extremists took over the 26-year-old’s hometown in northern Iraq, forcing him to flee to Turkey. Or when he says he was almost raped at knife point and later laughed out of a Turkish police station when he tried to report the crime. Nor was it in January, when President Trump first tried—unsuccessfully—to bar refugees from entering America.
As Mohammed tells it, the cruelest blow instead came this past week, when the United States Supreme Court agreed to reinstate Mr. Trump’s 120-day freeze on refugee resettlement. Tens of thousands of applicants for resettlement in the United States are affected by the freeze, and Mohammed is among the unluckiest: His application has been accepted for months, and he was simply waiting for the American government to give him an arrival date.
Mohammed has been vetted and approved for refugee status—rigorously vetted. He was screened by the United Nations, the International Catholic Migration Commission, and three different American government agencies, "in what United Nations officials have described as the world’s most rigorous refugee-screening system," says the NYT—but because he doesn't have a "family connection" in the United States, per the Supreme Court, he's blocked from entering the country. And he's quickly running out of resources and is in real danger:
To keep afloat, Mohammed began to sell his clothes, then his camera, then his watch. [Mohammed] hoped the windfall from hawking his possessions might tide him over until his departure was confirmed. But then Mr. Trump was inaugurated, and confirmation never came. Instead, the president suspended refugee resettlement, a move that was upheld by the Supreme Court decision this past week. Now Mohammed is thinking of selling his last remaining valuable, his cellphone. He said he was down to his last 20 Turkish lira, less than $6.
One gay Syrian refugee was murdered in a particularly brutal fashion last summer, and Mohammed himself has been subject to abuse. He recalls being spat on for being gay, and was nearly raped at knife point last year before managing to call for help. When he reported the episode to the police the next morning, “they started laughing at me,” Mohammed recalled. “They said: ‘You’re not a girl so you can’t be raped.’”
Jobless and friendless, Mohammed, who is represented by the International Refugee Assistance Project, a New York-based refugee rights group providing him with pro bono legal assistance, now feels “on the edge between life and death.”
If you read the piece and wanted to help Mohammed, there is a way you can help.
You can make a donation to support Mohammed via the International Refugee Assistance Project, one of three organizations I'm supporting through my ITMFA campaign. Go to their donation page, select "In Honor of," and write "For Mohammed From the NYT article" in the field where you're asked to enter an email address. IRAP can direct those funds through their Emergency Shelter and Protection for LGBT Clients program.