Despite Backlash Against Muslim Ban, Immigrants Still Vulnerable

Feb. 13, 2017 / By

SAN FRANCISCO – Immigrant rights advocates are hailing Thursday’s ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which refused to reinstate President Trump’s ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries. But they are also bracing for a prolonged legal fight with the White House.

Esther Sung, staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), called the decision “a necessary check to the blatant Constitutional overreach emblazoned by President Trump’s unlawful and un-American executive order.”

Trump, who tweeted after the ruling, “SEE YOU IN COURT!,” now has the option to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This decision means that, for now, people seeking refuge from horrific conditions will not be turned away, that families separated by this discriminatory policy can reunite,” said Sung, who spoke on a national press call organized by New America Media and Ready California this week. “This is a reminder to everyone: our Constitution protects us all, and no one – not even the president – is above it.”

But although the decision was lauded as a victory by civil rights groups, it is one step in a long battle being waged by immigrant communities and their allies to defend their rights amid a flurry of activity from an administration just three weeks in office.

Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), noted that while the decision is “good news, immigrants in general continue to be vulnerable under a Trump administration.”

‘The new normal’

The same week the decision was announced in San Francisco, ICE arrested approximately 160 people in a series of sweeps in Southern California. In a statement released Friday, ICE claimed that 150 of those arrested in the five-day operation had criminal histories.

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