You remember this guy, right? He got up and spoke at the Democratic National Convention, the Gold Star father of a dead U.S. Marine, blasting Donald Trump for daring to question the patriotism of Muslim Americans. Of course, Trump never questioned any such thing. He made the fairly obvious observation that most terrorists are Muslims, which is not even in the same universe with tarring the patriotism of Muslims in general - but never let it be said Democrats will pass up the chance to craft a totally dishonest narrative if they think it will help them.
Trump, who counterpunches everyone regardless of who they are, went after Khan on Twitter, and we were told this sort of indiscipline was the reason Trump couldn’t possibly win the election. Most people believed that was true until very late at night on November 9.
Anyway, that’s the history. Khan was a classic Democrat human shield. They put a guy in the spotlight whose personal story is so sympathetic you can’t respond to him even if what he says is completely irresponsible and totally wrong. Which it was. It was a trap designed specifically with Trump in mind, and Trump took the bait - although apparently not to the ultimate effect Democrats were expecting.
So Khan mostly disappeared from the spotlight until the other day, when we heard he was supposed to go to Toronto for a speaking engagement. That wouldn’t really be much in the way of news considering Khan’s 15 minutes of fame passed months ago, until Khan made the bizarre claim that he would have to cancel the engagement because his “travel privileges were being reviewed.”
What? What was this? Was it Trump’s travel ban, once again biting the # of a patriotic citizen just because he happened to be a Muslim? Initial reaction to the claim certainly seemed to indicate that, until people actually started asking questions. And suddenly our sainted victim didn’t sound so innocent:
A State Department official told the Daily News that there is no such U.S. State Department procedure for reviewing “travel privileges” and that anyone with a valid U.S. passport can enter and leave the U.S.
“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 in a statement provided by Ramsay Talks on Monday.
“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.”
“He did not comment further when reached by a CTV producer on Monday afternoon, and the Daily News could not independently verify what exactly he was told to make him cancel his visit.
So let me see if I’ve got this straight. A guy who’s been a U.S. citizen for 30 years and has a valid U.S. passport (and no criminal record) was told by someone he doesn’t identify that his “travel privileges were being reviewed.” What does that even mean? To take it at face value, it sure sounds like the Trump Administration - specifically the State Department - was getting a little payback against a guy who has represented a political headache for them.
But as the State Department makes clear, the process Khan describes as having happened to him does not even exist.
Let’s break down how this actually works. First of all, the U.S. government only has a say in whether you can enter the country, not whether you can leave. If you decide to cross the border into Canada, there is no U.S. government official stationed at the border who will decide whether you’ll be allowed to leave. That only happens when you get to the other side and you’re stopped by a Canadian customs officer, who will ask to see your passport and other ID, and will ask you why you’re visiting the country, for what purpose, for how long, etc. He’s the one who’s going to decide if you’re allowed to enter Canada, not a U.S. government official.
It’s only when you return that you deal with U.S. customs officials. They will ask you similar questions about where you went and why, and they’ll ask if you’re bringing anything back that needs to be declared. The might even ask you to open your trunk. But if you’re a U.S. citizen and you’ve got a passport to prove it, they’re not going to stop you from coming back into the country. They don’t pick out specific citizens and “review their travel privileges”. Everyone has freedom to travel to any country that will let them enter. This isn’t Cuba or North Korea. The United States is not a prison.
There’s also the matter of what actually happens in practice when Americans travel to and from Canada. Maybe this isn’t well known to folks in other parts of the country, but people like me who live in Metro Detroit have been familiar with the experience of crossing into Windsor our whole lives. It’s not completely hassle-free, but it is nearly so. You don’t need a visa when you go to Canada. You don’t even need a passport book. The State Department issues passport cards that can only be used for travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Carribean. Once the State Department issues you a passport card, you don’t have to check with them before you go to Canada. You just go. Absent some extraordinary issue that would cause concern among Canadian authorities, they will let you through.
So if Khan wanted to go to Toronto and he had a valid passport, all he had to do was cross the border - which he would be free to do without any involvement by U.S. authorities - and present his credentials to the Canadian customs official waiting for him on the other side.
Would he be hampered in returning? Would Trump’s new travel order present a problem? Not at all. For one thing, Trump’s new order hasn’t even taken effect yet. But more to the point, Trump’s travel order only affects people visiting from six foreign countries. Khan is a U.S. citizen. He’s been one since 1986. The order has nothing to do with him, and he would not need to be given “travel privileges” any more so than you or I would. If he’s a citizen (which he is) and he’s got a passport (which he does), his “travel privileges” are inherent.
So unless Khan’s travel privileges were under review by his wife, his story simply doesn’t add up.
I don’t want to call the guy a liar, especially considering his sacrifice as a Gold Star father. But the story he’s peddling sure ain’t the truth.
Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by CainTV, which can be found at caintv.com
A new edition of Dan’s book “Powers and Principalities” is now available in hard copy and e-book editions. Follow all of Dan’s work, including his series of Christian spiritual warfare novels, by liking his page on Facebook.
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