Attorneys discuss immigration executive order, address community concerns

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Hundreds of concerned residents filled the Michael Guido Theater Feb. 1 for a town hall meeting addressing President Donald Trump’s executive order impacting immigrants.

ACCESS hosted the emergency town hall as part of its Take On Hate campaign to prove the public with information from attorneys.

Abed Ayoub, legal director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Khaled Beydoun, professor of Law at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law; and Noel Saleh, ACCESS board member and civil rights attorney, provided advice and information to those in attendance.

Trump signed an executive order Jan. 27 to suspend the admission of all refugees for three months and suspend the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Also, citizens from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen are not allowed to enter the United States with their visas for the next three months.

“These issues cannot be solved or approached with the old way of thinking,” Ayoub said. “New leadership needs to tackle the issues that will affect us in new ways.”

He also said more countries could be added to the list along with a list of crimes committed by immigrants and a Muslim registry.

Ayoub advised non-U.S. citizens from other Muslim-majority countries to avoid travel if they are worried their country will be placed on the ban list.

“No matter how daunting the challenge, we must continue to push,” Beydoun said. “More challenges are coming and we must stand together no matter the race, religion or ethnicity.”

Demonstrations in cities and airports across the country have been held by people of many faiths and races opposed to the executive order.

“The resistance are an important part of civil engagement,” Saleh said. “This is what will allow us to fight against the ban and other crisis. I encourage the attendance of protests and town halls because you will allow lawyers to successfully navigate through the lawsuits.”

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as of Feb. 1, 940 people have been been recommended denial of boarding, 1,607 had lawful permanent resident waivers and 81 visa holders were granted waivers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security told its agents in customs and at the borders that they should allow legal residents to enter the country, but Ayoub said some agents are ignoring the request.

“The executive order caused chaos across the country and world,” he said. “The White House administration did not properly communicate with legislators or anyone else before and after the order was signed.”

The Arab American Civil Rights League filed a lawsuit against Trump and the Department of Homeland Security Jan. 31 claiming the executive order is unconstitutional due to its religious-specific language.

For a list of organizations fighting the executive order go to www.takeonhate.org/fightmuslimban. To file a complaint, call the ACRL at 844-226-8359. For more information, email crisis@michiganimmigrant.org.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)