Equal, But Not Equal Before The Law
By MortazaviBlog on Jul 16, 2006
This vacation time has been very important to me because I have had the good fortune to visit my brother who lives in Turkey. This is the brother with whom I had been unable to visit since the summer of 2001, when my whole family last spent a month in Kalkan, Turkey, where he lives with his Turkish wife and daughter and owns and operates an art shop.
Now that I've started, let me tell you a bit more.
I've resided in the U.S. since 1979, and my two brothers have settled in two other countries---one has settled in Germany since 1986. He is an architect and designer. The other has settled in Turkey since 1984 (or was it 1983?). He is a city planner, painter and store owner. Both of them left for these countries prior to their university education. Both have masters degrees in their fields of study. Both have been recognized by their peers as accomplished and creative. Both have abided by the laws, formed families and supported them. Both are my brothers. We share the same parents and grand parents. We were born in the same city, went to same high school and lived in the same homes.
However, they have not been treated equally before the law--or at least the U.S. law, if such a law exists--when it comes to their rights to visit me, and my rights to have them visit me in my place of residence.
This is a very simple, and one can argue, one of the most basic human rights, i.e. the right to have family members visit you where you live. (On one extreme, most prisoners in the U.S. have such visitation rights by law.) Anything less would be considered inhuman.
Yes, the case is simple and definitive.
My brother who lives in Germany can travel to the U.S. as he wishes and has done so in the past to visit me and my family.
My other brother, who lives in Turkey, has never been able to visit me in the U.S. If my memory serves me right, he has requested to be granted a visa on three occasions (all going back to seven years earlier or before), and on every one of these occasions his requests have been denied. We no longer trouble ourselves with these requests. We know the automatic answer already--denial--so, why bother brother?
Where is the justice in these denials, and why should my brother and I have no right to visit each other in my place of residence, and why should I have to write a weblog entry about this, and why should I have to bother to go to a state senator or a congressional representative in order to make an attempt to assert and bring this self-evident human right to stand against all odds and, most probably, as a special case?
(In closing, it may be worth noting that Ms. Dianne Feinstein, our esteemed senator from California, has been behind harsher measures designed to deny visas to people from Iran and several other Muslim countries. Her proposals have continued to baffle and puzzle me if not other people of similar heritage.)