Cleveland Clinic intern barred from US entry sues Trump administration

Suha Abushamma, MD, a first-year internal medical resident at the Cleveland Clinic and a Sudanese citizen, is suing the Trump administration after she was detained and unable to reenter the U.S. over the weekend due to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, according to ProPublica.

The executive order, which President Trump signed Jan. 27, bars visitors from seven Middle Eastern countries — including Sudan — from entering the U.S for at least 90 days while the government develops more stringent screening methods. The rule also suspends the entire U.S. refugee admissions system for 120 days and the Syrian refugee program indefinitely.

Dr. Abushamma landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York at 11 a.m. on Jan. 28 after visiting family in Saudi Arabia. She was detained at the airport for about nine hours before she was forced to fly back to Saudi Arabia. Just twenty minutes after her plane departed, a federal district judge in Brooklyn issued a temporary stay blocking the government from deporting travelers held at airports.

Lawyers from the firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, working pro bono, are seeking a writ of habeas corpus and an order that would allow her to return to the country, reports ProPublica. On Tuesday they filed an amended petition in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn asking the judge to allow her to reenter the country. Lawyers had attempted to prevent her from being deported Jan. 28, but the emergency petition they filed was not acted upon before she left, according to the report.

The lawsuit on behalf of Dr. Abushamma contends she was denied access to a lawyer and was sent back unlawfully. It says she was told she either had to voluntarily withdraw her visa application and leave the U.S. or be deported, which would have prohibited her from returning to the U.S. for five years, according to the report. Dr. Abushamma asked an officer and supervisor with Customs and Border Protection to let her wait to hear the results of the legal hearing, but her request was denied, reports ProPublica.

Meanwhile, about two dozen of Dr. Abushamma's colleagues at Cleveland Clinic gathered this morning at the clinic's Miller Pavilion to demonstrate their support. While standing in silence, the group held photos of Dr. Abushamma and signs that said "#BringSuhaBack," according to a Cleveland.com report. The organizers of the gathering said they wanted to show their support for their colleagues and express their belief in the importance of diversity, inclusion and acceptance.

Earlier this week, hundreds of Cleveland Clinic physicians penned a letter to CEO Delos "Toby" Cosgrove, MD, asking him to denounce his perceived ties to the president and criticizing the decision to hold the annual fundraiser at one of the president's clubs in Florida.

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