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The Costs of the Cruel and Unnecessary Travel Ban

The Trump administration’s cruel and unnecessary travel ban is jeopardizing [1] the life of a U.S. citizen:

Maziar Hashemi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in Massachusetts, has been told by doctors that his best hope for surviving a rare form of blood cancer is a bone marrow transplant.

President Donald Trump’s travel ban could make that impossible.

Bone marrow transplants require a close match between donor and recipient. A few months after his diagnosis last September, Hashemi, 60, learned that his brother in Iran, Kamiar Hashemi, was a rare 100-percent match. The only problem was Kamiar’s nationality.

Mr. Hashemi’s brother has had his visa application denied, and he has not been granted a waiver. This man obviously shouldn’t be barred from coming here when he is trying to help save his brother’s life, and if it were not for the obnoxious travel ban he would have been able to do so. He is being prevented from traveling here solely because of his nationality and not because of anything that he has done. That would be unjust by itself, but when preventing his travel here worsens the chances of another person’s survival it is truly outrageous. It is cases like this one that illustrate just how stupid and wrong it is to impose blanket travel bans based on nationality. To make matters worse, the ban is completely worthless as a security measure, so Mr. Hashemi’s life is being put at greater risk for no good reason at all.

U.S. sanctions on Iran are also making it practically impossible for Mr. Hashemi’s brother to help him:

Worried about the ticking clock, Kamiar Hashemi looked into traveling to India to have his bone marrow harvested there and rushed to the United States, but that option was also thwarted.

A non-profit organization trying to facilitate the transfer, Be The Match, said it had to pull out after its legal team concluded that Kamiar’s bone marrow couldn’t be exported to the United States because of U.S. sanctions on Iranian exports [bold mine-DL].

“Can you imagine that the cells of an Iranian needed in order to help a U.S. citizen are embargoed?” said Maziar Hashemi, a civil engineer who has lived in the United States since the 1970s.

“It is just unfair,” he said in a phone interview. “I cannot wait much longer.”

Iran sanctions don’t have the desired effect on regime behavior, but they prevent a man from providing a potentially life-saving bone-marrow donation to his own brother. The travel ban doesn’t guard against any real threats, but it is separating these family members at a critical time. There should certainly be an exception made in this case, but the best solution to avoid more problems like this in the future is to rescind the travel ban all together.

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5 Comments To "The Costs of the Cruel and Unnecessary Travel Ban"

#1 Comment By Alex Ingrum On March 27, 2018 @ 6:17 pm

Collective punishment against a people was perfected by the Israelis, and now it’s being used against Iranians and others on the travel ban list.

How is this supposed to get ordinary Iranians to side with us? Many in Iran are opposed to the Islamic regime, but everything we are doing will drive these opposition groups away from us.

Meanwhile, Egypt has a completely sham election cementing the power of military rule, and our government wholeheartedly supports the lack of democracy there.

Hypocrisy much? And we still wonder why no one in the Middle East trusts the U.S. Well, except maybe the Saudis, but as soon as they stop buying billions of dollars of weapons from us, you can bet we’ll finally turn against them, too.

#2 Comment By William Dalton On March 27, 2018 @ 11:18 pm

I agree that the travel ban on Iranian nationals is stupid, but those administering the policy would appear to be conspiring to undermine it by such unreasonable application. Is this another case of the “deep state” working to discredit Donald Trump?

As for the human interest story here, the question I beg to have answered is why the American brother doesn’t travel to Iran or India or some other reasonable country to meet his brother and there receive his needed bone marrow transplant?

#3 Comment By rayray On March 28, 2018 @ 2:45 pm

@William Dalton
So, a profoundly ill man who is in need of a bone marrow transplant must travel to some third party country to get treatment because of a useless ban based upon his family’s country of origin? Clearly this doesn’t even make sense to you because you then blame the “deep state” for making Trump look bad.

There is no “deep state”. There is only the military/industrial complex which is not mysterious and has been around a long time. And they pretty much love Trump who is pouring billions more into the military and bragging about hardware like some tinpot communist dictator.

And besides, Trump needs no help to make him look ignorant and vicious. It’s his core competency.

#4 Comment By Amir On March 29, 2018 @ 1:09 am

@William Dalton

His Doctor opposed with him taking a flight more than an hour.

#5 Comment By Quartermaster On March 29, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

I have absolutely no problem with the travel ban in general. However, situations like the one outline din the article are worthy of a waiver. Simply require the brother to return once the donation has been made. He’ll probably want to return anyway.