AABANY Statement Opposing President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

January 30, 2017

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(212) 332-2478

AABANY publicly states its strong opposition to President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order suspending entry of all individuals, including students, visitors and even U.S. lawful permanent residents, from seven Muslim-majority countries and of refugees from all countries. The President’s actions lead the country down a path that is reminiscent of dark periods in American history that Asian Americans know well.

Asian Americans remember the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was enacted in 1882 and lasted over six decades until its repeal in 1943. When the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the Chinese Exclusion Act, it decided that the law was justified on grounds of national security. The Act targeted a single race, barring all Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. and prohibiting all Chinese, even those who had lived in the U.S. for most of their lives, from becoming naturalized citizens. Upon traveling outside the U.S., even Chinese who had permanently settled into the U.S. were subject to strict interrogation and in many cases barred from re-entry.

Asian Americans remember President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which forcibly relocated and incarcerated people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens, in internment camps. Many Japanese Americans lost their homes and possessions, even though a U.S. intelligence report existing at that time determined that Japanese Americans as a whole did not pose a national security threat. January 30 marks the birthday of Fred T. Korematsu, one of the Japanese Americans who challenged the order in court. We can only speculate today whether that undisclosed intelligence report would have yielded a different result in his Supreme Court case. We should strive to learn the lessons of history and not allow fear and bigotry to lead to similar injustices in present day America.

President Trump’ s Executive Order appears to be grounded in racism and xenophobia, discriminating against a population in the name of national security. Targeting this population violates the most fundamental and core values of America, a country founded by immigrants and religious freedom.

What AABANY is doing includes:

  • ●          AABANY and Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York) are co-hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. ET on “Understanding Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration” to provide greater understanding of these orders and their impact on the immigrant community.
  • ●          AABANY is collaborating with other bar organizations to hold a CLE workshop on habeas corpus that will allow volunteers to provide emergency legal services to detained persons from affected countries in U.S. airports.
  • ●          AABANY has joined Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Immigrant Defense Fund and will coordinate with the Office of New Americans on programs and initiatives to provide representation and assistance to immigrants.
  • ●          AABANY will continue to collaborate with organizations such as the New York Immigration Coalition on identifying ways to address the needs of affected populations in light of President Trump’s Executive Order. 
  • We invite and encourage attorneys to contact us if they wish to volunteer for any of the above. We invite members of the public to contact us if they need assistance. AABANY can be contacted by email at[email protected] or by phone at (212) 332-2478.

    For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].

    The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

    Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org

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