Khizr Khan first rose to national prominence when he verbally attacked Donald Trump during the Democratic National Convention stating that Trump had sacrificed nothing and questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution. We will discuss the Constitution at the conclusion of my commentary.
Khan is a Harvard educated lawyer whose son Humayun Khan, a captain in the U.S. Army died in Iraq in 2004. He had graduated from the University of Virginia.
Khizr Khan has accused President Trump of discriminating against Muslims and once again, made headlines when Ramsay Talks, the speakers bureau who purportedly had arranged a speaking engagement in Toronto for Khan, posted a notice that a March 7 speaking event was cancelled blaming a purported notification that his “travel privileges are being reviewed”:
Khizr Khan Event Cancellation:
Late Sunday evening Khizr Khan, an American citizen for over 30 years, was notified that his travel privileges are being reviewed. As a consequence, Mr. Khan will not be traveling to Toronto on March 7th to speak about tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law. Very regretfully, Ramsay Talks must cancel its luncheon with Mr. Khan.
Guests will be given full refunds.
Mr. Khan offered his sincere apologies to all those who made plans to attend on March 7th. He said: “This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all omg fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why. I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future.
On March 6, 2017 Politico reported, Khizr Khan claims travel privileges under review, noting in part:
Khan said in a statement that he was confused about why his travel status changed, without explaining in detail the circumstance.
“This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad,” Khan said. “I have not been given any reason as to why. I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future.”
It’s not clear exactly what Ramsay Talks meant by “traveling privileges,” and the group did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Khan.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, citing privacy issues, declined to discuss Khan specifically but appeared to dispute the report, telling POLITICO that CBP doesn’t contact travelers in advance of their travel abroad.
“With respect to Global Entry or trusted traveler membership, CBP’s engagement is about the status of membership in the program, not any particular travel itself,” the official said. “Of course, any U.S. citizen with a passport may travel without trusted traveler status. All individuals are subject to inspection departing or upon arrival to the United States.”
On March 7, 2017 the Washington Post reported, Khizr Khan’s claim that the U.S. is restricting his travel may be unraveling.
In rushing to report on this, the media ignored the laws that address the issuance of passports to U.S. citizens and the admission of U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States. Apparently
the overwhelming visceral urge to attack the U.S. government under the Trump administration was apparently too great for the journalists to take a breath and do their homework.
American citizens who possess a valid passport or equivalent travel document do not require the permission of the United States government to travel outside the United States. The only time that any such restriction might be imposed is if a citizen of the United States has been convicted of certain crimes or is being prosecuted for allegedly committing serious crime(s) and a court has required that such a citizen surrenders his/her passport to prevent international flight to evade prosecution.
Federal law established the grounds by which a U.S. citizen would be denied a passport. Generally convicted felons may be issued a passport but citizens convicted of certain crimes international drug trafficking may be ineligible. The section of law that relates to such situations is, 22 U.S. Code § 2714 – Denial of passports to certain convicted drug traffickers.
As for United States citizens returning to the United States, two documents are worth considering because they provide verification of a fundamental fact, American citizens may never be barred from reentering the United States under any conditions, whatsoever.
The official website of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides information about the Immigration Inspection Program and includes the following excerpt:
Individuals seeking entry into the United States are inspected at Ports of Entry (POEs) by CBP officers who determine their admissibility. The inspection process includes all work performed in connection with the entry of aliens and United States citizens into the United States, including preinspection performed by the Immigration Inspectors outside the United States.
“An officer is responsible for determining the nationality and identity of each applicant for admission and for preventing the entry of ineligible aliens, including criminals, terrorists, and drug traffickers, among others. U.S. citizens are automatically admitted upon verification of citizenship; aliens are questioned and their documents are examined to determine admissibility based on the requirements of the U.S. immigration law.”
Next we should consider that Section 12.1 (Inspection of U.S. Citizens) contained in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspector’s Field Manual:
12.1 Inspection of U.S. Citizens.
When you are convinced that an applicant for admission is a citizen of the United States, the examination is terminated. This is not to say that your role as an inspector is always completed at that time. Listing of the subject in a lookout system may dictate further action, such as notifying Customs or another agency of the person’s entry.
It must be emphasized that the grounds of inadmissibility contained in 212(a) of the INA are applicable only to aliens. Consequently, the examination of a person claiming to be a United States citizen is limited to matters required to establish present citizenship. Once you are satisfied the person being examined is a U.S. citizen and any required lookout query has been completed, the examination is over.
The only question the remains is why Kahn would make these claims. Were there not enough customers willing to pay to hear him speak about “tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law?”
Was he convinced that the sequel to his appearance at the Democratic Convention where he launched an attack on Donald Trump might propel him into a politically prominent role in the Democratic Party?
Was he seeking to create the illusion that the United States has turned into a police state and Americans had lost their freedoms under the month-old Trump administration?
Whatever his motivation, it is clear that Mr. Kahn is hardly eager to promote “tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law.”
The death of Kahn’s son is a tragedy and he must be remembered as a hero who died defending our nation. But Mr. Kahn needs to understand that by creating a false claim about some contrived review of his “travel privileges” does not honor his son’s memory and certainly does not help to bring all Americans together but is divisive- perhaps intentionally divisive.
It is likely that Khizr Khan and his wife legally immigrated to the United States, to obviously pursue his dreams and apparently prospered as a result.
Mr. Khan is certainly right about the Constitution guarantees of equal protection under the law, but also includes
Article IV, Section 4, to wit:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
Thousands of innocent people have died at the hands of terrorists operating in the United States in a series of deadly attacks carried out by radical Islamists who most often entered the United States through ports of entry.
The measures that Donald Trump called for in his campaign and in his subsequent executive orders, including “extreme vetting” have been consistent with the demands of the Constitution and with the findings and recommendations published in The 9/11 Commission Report and the official report “9/11 and Terrorist Travel – Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”
A section worth reviewing found in the latter report, Terrorist Entry and Embedding Tactics, 1993 to 2001 begins with the following paragraph:
The relative ease with which the hijackers obtained visas and entered the United States underscores the importance of travel to their terrorist operations. In this section we explore the evolution of terrorist travel tactics and organization. We begin with terrorist plots in the 1990s and conclude with the 9/11 attack.
3.2 Terrorist Travel Tactics by Plot includes the following:
Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports. In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption.
Facts are, indeed, stubborn things.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.