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South Asian lawyers group condemn Trump’s orders on Muslim ban

Washington: Top South Asian lawyers’ bodies have condemned US President Donald Trump’s executive order to stop refugees entering America and halt immigration process from Muslim-majority countries.

“These orders, which are based on the misguided idea that certain ethnic populations are more prone to violence, are incompatible with American values, and will not make our communities safer or our nation stronger,”” South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) said in a joint statement.

It said the order halts refugee admissions from all countries for at least 120 days, indefinitely halts the admission of Syrian refugees, and lowers the number of refugee admissions to the United States.

It also grants states and localities the ability to stop refugees from settling in their jurisdiction, and suspends all entry of individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries.

“Criminalising and stigmatising a group of people simply for their religious beliefs, what they look like and where they come from, violates the American spirit of equality, fairness and innocence until proven guilty,” said SABA president Vichal Kumar.

“The carve out in the executive actions for religious minorities challenges any assertion that these orders do not directly target Muslims,” he said. “An outright ban of an entire group is an overbroad and unjustified response to a threat that is based solely on conjecture and unsupported by facts. These actions will leave a legacy of creating deeper mistrust of our communities,” he added.

“We must recognise the humanitarian needs of refugee populations and we must refuse to act based on fear and intolerance,” said NAPABA president Cyndie Chang. “Policies that discriminate against members of the Muslim community go against our values as Americans. President Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders open the door to a de facto ‘Muslim ban,’ and roll back efforts to create safe and supportive communities,” Chang said.

“As Asian Pacific Americans who are first, second, or third generation immigrants – which includes refugees, undocumented, and Muslims – we know all too well the harm these types of restrictive policies may cause,” he said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has announced to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 individuals challenging the “Muslim ban” executive order signed by Trump.

The lawsuit, will challenge the constitutionality of the order because its apparent purpose and underlying motive is to ban people of the Islamic faith from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a media release said.

“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said CAIR national litigation director Lena F Masri. “The courts must do what President Trump will not—ensure that our government refrains from segregating people based on their faith,” said Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is co-counsel on the lawsuit.

The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) also announced to oppose the anti-immigrant Executive Orders issued this week by the Trump administration. These policies expand deportation, criminalize immigrants, defund sanctuary cities, and enforce harmful border policies, it said.

“These anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim policies target communities of color and perpetuate racial and religious profiling. Sikh-Americans, Muslim-Americans, and all people of faith should have the freedom to pray without backlash from their government and to walk the streets devoid of fear of being harassed based on the way they look or the language they speak,” SALDEF said.

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates said it is extremely concerned about Trump’s actions on immigration, including his executive orders to defund sanctuary cities and ban Muslim refugees. “We are outraged at the executive orders that President Trump has signed,” said Vicki Shu, OCA vice president of Public Affairs.

“No matter how President Trump and his team may have sold the executive order, our communities fully understand that this is clearly meant to ban the immigration of Muslims,” he said. “This ban is a denial of the equal application of civil and human rights, and reignites baseless fears of other races, religions, and cultures,” he said.

PTI