News from the Week of May 8th

Here’s another round-up of what we’ve been reading and watching, from the news and around the web.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Trump Administration’s travel ban in Virginia on Monday. Judges questioned acting solicitor general Jeffrey B. Wall, focusing on the intent and impact of the ban on Muslims. Judge Pamela Harris asked, “Clearly the law has a disparate impact on Muslims. In what sense is it neutral?”

The ban seriously weakens U.S. national security, undermines our global leadership, and markedly separates us from the ideals that we strive to live up to as a nation. VFAI condemns the ban as part of a troubling pattern of anti-Muslim sentiment that targets the most vulnerable refugees.

The ban will is also queued up to be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 15th.

For it to go into effect, both courts would have to rule in favor of the administration. Regardless of the outcome, the losing side would likely appeal to the Supreme Court, though it is unclear if it would hear the case.

VFAI Founder Scott Cooper addressed the crowd in front of the 4th Circuit Court moments before the case was heard. He told the story of a U.S. ship finding a leaky refugee boat in the South China Sea and the refugees yelling, “Hello American freedom!” Cooper said, “What this violates is what we should stand for. I hope today that the third branch of our government finds the right decision.”

Last week, Congress authorized an additional 2,500 visas for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The authorization comes after two years of veterans fighting for the program by meeting with members of Congress, rallying across the nation, signing petitions, and welcoming visa recipients at airports.

VFAI leader Joe Jenkins writes about the victory, saying, “As long as the United States remains in Afghanistan, more of our Afghan allies will rely on us for help—Veterans for American Ideals has made it our mission to make sure they get it.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) declares in The New York Times that the United States has a duty to support and speak for human rights around the world. He argues, “To view foreign policy as simply transactional is more dangerous than its proponents realize. Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three.”

VFAI leader Colin Raunig writes about how joining our organization allows him to continue serving the United States by focusing on nonpartisan issues and taking action: “When an interconnected and dispersed group of veterans think and act locally, the wide-ranging positive effects are truly remarkable.”

Have reactions to share, or want to learn how you can get involved in our efforts to raise veteran voices in support of refugees? Find us on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us at vfai@humanrightsfirst.org