By TIM PADGETT FEB 11, 2017
Khizr Khan is the immigrant Gold Star father who denounced presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention. Before receiving an award Friday night in Miami, he spoke with WLRN about immigration controversies national – and local.
Pakistani-Americans Khan and his wife lost their U.S. Army officer son Humayun Khan in Iraq when he confronted a suicide bomber. Last year they became the face of opposition to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign rhetoric against immigrants and Muslims like themselves.
Khan said he’s heartened that a federal appeals court has blocked President Trump’s travel ban for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. But he worries the damage may have been done.
“What concerns me is that internationally, 1.6 billion Muslims feel that America is against them,” said Khan. “By this ban we have given the platform to those who wish us ill in the world.”
Khan is receiving the America’s Immigrant Spirit Award from the Miami-based non-profit Americans for Immigrant Justice. The group is one of many that have criticized Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez for complying with Trump’s call to cooperate with federal detentions of undocumented immigrants. Khan too is reminding local governments they are not compelled to take part in federal immigration enforcement. (Gimenez argues Trump’s order is legal. Trump is threatening to withhold federal funding for local and state governments that don’t assist.)
“Hispanics, Muslims, we all have equal rights,” said Khan. “And that is the message I wish our local leadership to understand.”
Khan added he hopes this week’s court decision will help reduce anti-Muslim hate crimes.