Guest-hosting for Rush yesterday, I mentioned the case of Meriam Ibrahim, who has been sentenced by a Sudanese court to hang for the crime of being a Christian and refusing to "revert" to Islam (she was turned in to the authorities by her brother, apparently). Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa has ruled that the convicted woman, who is eight months pregnant, will be permitted to give birth to her child before he executes her. Her two-year-old son Martin is currently imprisoned with her.
I would like Meriam Ibrahim not to be hanged - for several reasons. First, I'm not in favor of hanging women for apostasy. However, I recognize that, in a post-imperial age, barbarous despots are free to terrorize their subjects, and no matter how many pouty-faced hashtags we do we can't save them all. However, there are compelling reasons why the United States Government ought to be making an effort to bring back this girl in particular.
As I've discussed here and on air, Meriam Ibrahim is the wife of a US citizen, Daniel Wani. Mr Wani lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, a couple hours south of SteynOnline corporate HQ. He has lived in the Granite State for 17 years. He has been a US citizen for almost a decade.
I don't think it's in the interests of Americans for thug states to learn they can execute the spouses of US citizens with impunity. That will not improve the security of Americans and westerners as they move around the world. As I said the other day, the spouse of a US citizen is entitled to US citizenship herself: It's essentially non-discretionary. So Mrs Wani is in effect an American-in-waiting.
However, the sclerotic, dysfunctional and utterly shameful US immigration bureaucracy takes years to process these routine spousal applications. And that is why Daniel Wani's wife was languishing in Khartoum: she was waiting for "permission" from the United States Bureau of Inertia to travel to New Hampshire and join her husband. And, while she was waiting, the Sudanese decided to kill her. From The Union Leader:
Daniel Wani, a U.S. citizen since 2005, went to Sudan last summer to arrange for his wife and child to move to New Hampshire, where the Wani brothers immigrated in 1998 after fleeing the war-torn African country...
Gabriel Wani said the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum was slow to respond to his requests until Ibrahim's arrest and trial...
What's the big deal? US diplomats in Khartoum are "slow to respond". When US diplomats in Benghazi needed someone to respond, Obama and Clinton were "slow to respond", too. "Slow to respond" can be chiseled on the tombstone of the republic. But this is what it boils down to:
The couple's toddler boy is a U.S. citizen by virtue of his father's U.S. citizenship, but Wani said U.S. Embassy officials in Khartoum have told him he must prove he is the father with a DNA test before they would try to help.
"I will have to take a DNA sample in Khartoum, then send it to the USA for testing," Wani said. "I have provided wedding documents and the baby's birth certificate, and doors were closed on his face."
Wani told Morning Star News that when he called the U.S. Embassy on April 9, a representative in Khartoum told him they did not care about the case.
"I have tried to apply for papers to travel to the USA with my wife and child, but the American Embassy in Sudan did not help me," Wani said. "My son is an American citizen living in a difficult situation in prison."
The reason Mr Wani was in Manchester and Mrs Wani and their son Martin were in Khartoum is because they were trapped in the processing hell of US immigration:
Soon after Ibrahim and Wani were wed, in December 2011, Wani applied to his government, the United States government, for a spousal visa to bring his wife to America.
As I said, a spousal application is essentially non-discretionary: An American has the right to fall in love with a Belgian or an Uzbek or a Papuan and bring her to his home, but US immigration has gotten into the habit of dragging it out, for three years, a half-decade, and even longer if the paper-shufflers are minded to really screw you over. In this case, for poor Mrs Wani, US bureaucratic torpor has proved fatal.
So this is a tale not just of a rotten worthless Third World basket-case tyranny, but of US bureaucratic incompetence, too. The late Christopher Hitchens, who died a US citizen, summarized his dealings with American immigration thus:
There was a famous saying, I think it's by the Roman poet Terence. Nihil humanem alienurm puto - Nothing human is alien to me. The slogan of the Department of Homeland Security is nothing alien is human to them.
And so an expectant mother and her two-year old American son are chained to a wall. Britain's Daily Mail (which is now America's most-read newspaper website - because American newspapers have entirely lost their nose for news) reports:
Martin was born in Sudan and may be entitled to a US passport because Daniel in a naturalized American citizen, though the process is complicated and not certain.
"The process is complicated and not certain": There's another epitaph for the republic.
Since that boils down to "The bureaucracy makes it up as it goes along", the question is: what should they be prevailed upon to make up next? My senator, Kelly Ayotte, has called on John Kerry to grant Mrs Wani political asylum, as soon as he's finished boring college graduates into the ground with his ecopalyptic doom-mongering. But I think, given the circumstances and given US responsibility for this woman being stuck in Khartoum, we need to go beyond that. The President could pick up the phone to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and order them to confer US citizenship on Daniel Wani's wife. That takes five minutes, but, if he wants to drag his heels, the US Congress could vote to confer US citizenship, too (as it did, say, on Winston Churchill).
Right now, the entire political class is obsessed with finding a way to reward tens of millions of Undocumented-Americans who broke into America and decided to stay. Mr and Mrs Wani followed the rules - the lethargic, capricious, incomprehensible, non-functioning rules. And because they agreed to submit to the system an American citizen's wife will die in Khartoum waiting for the visa that never came.
On Saturday, President Obama issued a Tweet in observance of International Anti-Homophobia Day:
"No one should face violence or discriminationâ€”no matter who they are or whom they love." â€”President Obama
Fine words, but, as is often the case with this man, utterly empty. An American citizen is about to have his life ruined because of "whom they love". Daniel Wani suffered discrimination from the US Government because he fell in love with Meriam Ibrahim. And, because of that discrimination, he now faces violence from the Sudanese Government, which presently has his entire family - his wife and unborn child, and his two-year-old son - shackled in Khartoum. After Meriam gives birth, she will be hanged, and Daniel, because he has committed the crime of being a Christian, will never see his children again.
Those children are American citizens, and this is not a Sudanese news story but an American one.
The United States bureaucracy failed Daniel Wani, grievously. Washington should make Meriam Ibrahim a US citizen. The Ambassador in Khartoum should then demand access to the family. And the US Government should make plain to its Sudanese counterparts that it expects the entire family on a plane out of there in 48 hours.