STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S EXECUTIVE ORDER BANNING MUSLIMS FROM THE UNITED STATES
In December 2015, in response to domestic mass shootings in the United States, then presidential candidate Donald Trump advocated banning Muslims from the United States. This knee-jerk and xenophobic reaction, offered as red meat to his political base, has now become policy. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order seeking to legalize religious bigotry, racial-profiling, and ethnic preferences.
Any person who seeks to harm our country should be denied entry. But President Trump’s order falls far short of this stated purpose, and will not keep our communities safe. Rather than fighting ISIS and real terrorists, President Trump has criminalized innocent men, women, and children based on their religious affiliation and national origin. For example, a five-year-old child was separated from his mother, handcuffed, and held in detention for several hours. A daughter traveling to the US was prevented from visiting her mother, who is hospitalized with cancer. A 16-year-old teenager legal immigrant landed in Houston, was detained, and then transported to a refugee holding pen in Chicago without explanation or notice and without access to family. These are simply a trickle of the hundreds of stories legal permanent residents, legally valid refugees, and travelers, including doctors, professors, and business professionals, have faced as a result of Trump’s bigoted, and mean spirited actions.
Muslim Bar Association attorneys offering pro bono legal services for arriving passengers at O’Hare International Airport report that valid green card holders and even American citizens who are not from the subject countries, but are Muslim by faith, have been detained for extended hours or refused permission to board flights, threatened to give up their green cards or passports, harassed by border guards with overt comments of hate and bigotry, and denied access to counsel. “It appears that guilt by association has, sadly, been elevated to official government policy,” said Azam Nizamuddin, president of the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago.
Banning immigrants, turning a blind eye to refugees, and harassing citizens based on religious affiliation is not in keeping with the values of our pluralistic society. As attorneys, we will defend the US Constitution and work hard to prevent the erosion of Muslim civil and human rights.