There are a lot of shitty things about President Trump’s ban on people entering the US from a handful of Muslim-majority countries that he’s not currently doing business with, and one of them is that the best way to fight it is in the courts. Which means that some of us — most of us, actually — can only play a supporting role in overturning this unconstitutional, illegal and immoral executive order. But we still can play a role. It’s not as easy or straightforward as a call script, though. Here are a few different ways to support the No Ban efforts around the country.
Identify People in Need
If you hear of any people detained at the airports, law enforcement not cooperating with the stay, or other problems related to CBP at airports, pass leads to The Yale Law Clinic at stopCBP@mailman.yale.edu and IRAP firstname.lastname@example.org and call CAIR at (202) 331-3329 and (202) 331-3320 to report.
Give Money to the Litigating Organizations
Organizations are behind these heartwarming photos of lawyers plugged into hubs at airports across the nation. Those organizations need money. The most well-known taking on the fight is, of course, the ACLU. But there are other organizations running the litigation show that also need your money and they don’t usually get as much attention: National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). CAIR is doing a lot of triage work. Also do remember that lawyers are barred by state and laws and advocacy needs vary by state, so you may have local organizations that need your funding. As an example, New York Immigration Coalition has been doing a lot of advocacy and organizing where I live. Google your state and the word immigration to see if there’s anyone fighting the good fight down the street.
Volunteering When You’re Not a Lawyer
My wife volunteered for the ACLU before she went to law school. It was a really rewarding experience for her. While the ACLU’s mission is a legal one, they’re a large organization like any other and have need of myriad skill sets outside the legal world. When I looked at my local ACLU chapter, they listed writing, journalism, education, academia, fundraising and so much more. The first step to volunteering is to find your local chapter — remember, all this varies state-by-state, so the ACLU has offices in every single state. Sometimes more than one if needs vary within the state regionally! If you feel like you fit something your local chapter is looking for, fill out their volunteer application! IRAP also has volunteer opportunities for non-lawyers (and lawyers, too). They are specifically looking for those fluent in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Somali and Kurdish to fill out their Intake Volunteer application.
Volunteering When You Are a Lawyer
Real talk: if you’re a lawyer, this section probably isn’t going to tell you anything you don’t already know or aren’t already doing. But I’m putting i here anyway because I want to let you know that we believe in you and we believe in the rule of law. Because that is the only thing that will save us from this fascist, white nationalist administration. Here are some things lawyers can do:
- If you work at a large firm with a pro-bono coordinator and relationships to the above organizations, volunteer when you get that email to hop on to an immigration case in response to this executive order.
- IRAP has a volunteer form for attorneys.
- Local ACLU affiliates may also have need of attorneys — find yours and contact them today.
- Your local law school may have a relevant clinic at which you can volunteer your time.
- Take a leaf out of Ian Samuel’s book:
We see you. We believe what you are doing has meaning. We are so glad you’re showing up.
Yes, Marching Makes a Difference
Groundgame has a list of all the airport (and related) protests against the Muslim ban. I’d like to point out some of the ones that, at the time of this writing, have not yet occurred; if one of these is near you, Google to find more information about it.
Durham, North Carolina (Duke)
London, United Kingdom
Columbia, South Carolina
San Francisco, California
While marching is usually a display to an elected official of the votes that care about a particular issue, the judges and the bureaucrats are also watching. Seeing thousands of people standing up for an issue might help them grow a spine if they don’t yet have one, or stiffen their spine if they do.
Consider when attending a march at an airport that many people, including the attorneys, have been there for hours. It is a good idea, if you can, to bring along food and water. An example of this working: the pizza angels at JFK.
I Just Want to Get On The Phone With Someone Right Now, I’m So Angry
Calling your representatives might not do much in this instance — the legislative branch has little to do with executive orders. But speaking out against the Muslim Ban is a good litmus test for whether or not your representative is a human person or a garbage bag with a face painted on it. Plus the party can always pressure the executive branch if their orders will hurt them in the next election. So what I’m saying is, it can’t hurt.
Use this Google spreadsheet to see what your senator has said. And here’s a list that includes the very few Republican Congresspeople who have spoken out against the ban. No matter what your Representative has said, call either way. If they’re opposed to the ban, thank them for it. If they’re for or have remained silent, here’s a script you can use:
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and my address is [YOUR ADDRESS]. I am a constituent. I’m calling to voice my displeasure that [REP’S NAME] has not yet denounced the executive order detaining and deporting people from specific Muslim-majority countries. America is built on the foundation of religious freedom, and the Republican party calls itself the party of individual liberty. I’m shocked and disappointed that [REP’S NAME] has not yet spoken out against it. This will affect my vote in the next election cycle. I will tell all my friends and family about [REP’S NAME]’s stance on religious freedom.
Please feel free to make the script your own, but don’t stray away from this message. It’s tailored to appeal to Republican representatives. Your representative may have also denounced a Muslim ban before Trump was the nominee, but remained silent or cooperative now. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and, yes, Vice President Pence are all examples of this. Feel free to add such things to your script when you call!
But Isn’t This Exactly Like What President Obama Did in 2011?
Longer answer: President Obama responded to a real incident, officials re-examined those resettled in response and also imposed new screening procedures, which slowed down but did not stop outright the processing of visa applications. He did not make a blanket declaration regarding all citizens from any country or group of countries.
We will be watching the Ban closely. The situation is fluid, with courts sorting individual cases out. We’ll have updates and separate posts as things progress and we discover new information and strategy.
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