Boy Was Held Away From His Mother for Several Hours
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, under fire from the press corps over President Donald Trump's likely unconstitutional Muslim ban, heartily defended Friday's chaotic rollout by supporting the hours-long detention and separation of a five-year old from his mother.
The 5-year old son of Shohreh Rahnama, a resident of Bethesda, Maryland "was detained for several hours at Dulles Airport after a flight from Istanbul on Saturday night," The Washington Post reports.
The child, whose name according to the Post is Artiman Jalali, "was born in the United States and has dual citizenship with Iran. He was traveling back from visiting relatives with his cousin, 25-year-old Aida Mohammadi, a University of Maryland student and a green-card holder."
Rahnama said she waited for hours at the airport with friends and family and a growing crowd of strangers who came to support them and others whose loved ones were detained. Artiman and Mohammadi were finally released around midnight. "He was hungry and he was thirsty, and I could not see him," she said.
"How can a 5-year-old be banned? Just because his parents are Iranian? We are American, too," she said. "I almost died in that airport. I can say it was the worst day of my life."
Here's video of that encounter, via ABC affiliate WJLA:
After downplaying the international crisis trump's executive order caused by claiming that only "109 were temporarily inconvenienced for the safety of us all," here's how White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the detention of five-year old Jalali.
"That's why we slow [the process] down a little," Spicer said at Monday afternoon's daily press briefing, as Vox reports. "To make sure that if they are a 5-year-old, that maybe they're with their parents and they don't pose a threat. But to assume that just because of someone's age or gender or whatever that they don't pose a threat would be misguided and wrong."
Jalali was given no such accommodation.
And remember, Jalali is a U.S. citizen. Apparently his citizenship does not protect him in the eyes of the Trump administration.
Despite the emotionally devastating event on Saturday, the child and his mother attended a protest on Sunday.
Bravely, she had some strong words for President Trump.
"I am here to say: 'You cannot do this. You are our servant. The people elected you,'â€‰" she told the Washington Post. "Other countries are thirsty for the rights we have in America. We can't become a dictatorship."
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