CHICAGO (CBS) – Two legal challenges to President Trump’s travel ban unfolded Wednesday in Chicago federal courtrooms.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole explains, one doctor who was stopped in Syria from returning to the U.S. can finally come back.
Dressed in their white lab coats to show solidarity, doctors turned up in federal court to support their colleague who could not be there.
“This is the wrong person to prevent from coming,” said Dr. M. Zaher Sahloul, Advocate Christ Medical Center. “He is not a threat. He is actually saving lives.”
Dr. Amer Al Homssi, born in Syria, is a resident physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center. He traveled to Abu Dhabi to propose to his girlfriend, but the U.S. authorities canceled his exchange visa for medical training when he tried to board his return flight following President Trump’s executive order.
“He’s a smart man. He’s a good guy,” said attorney Tom Durkin. “This is someone that these programs were designed for.”
Dr. Joel Saeedi, Christ Medical Center said Dr. Al Homssi is a great person.
“He is no different than the rest of us,” Dr. Saeedi said. “He just got caught in a difficult situation.”
Dr. Al Homssi’s lawyers filed suit against the cancellation, but before it could progress, government attorneys reviewed his case, determined his visa was indeed valid, and cleared the doctor for reentry.
“This is a serious issue,” Durkin said. “He’s a doctor. [It’s] not like he is coming here to ride the Staten Island ferry.”
The impact of President Trump’s executive order on green card holders was challenged in a separate lawsuit.
“I will be honest with you,” said attorney Kamelli Taher. “Iranians have always been subject to extreme vetting.”
A Facebook page encouraged Chicago’s Iranian Americans to turn out in support of a legal permanent resident taking care of his mother in Iran. He was denied a plane ticket home to Chicago, but the government attorneys, moments before the hearing, determined he was legally allowed to return.
“They agreed the executive order does not apply to permanent residents and that’s what we wanted to get,” Taher said.
CBS has seen much frustration in recent days regarding the new travel policies, but the lawyers in both of these cases point out they were resolved by government attorneys coming forward and determining these individuals had the legal right to enter the country. It gives them some hope for the others still trying to work their way through a changing system.