MAI — “ACLU of Indiana, others urge people to reach out to lawmakers over Trump’s travel ban”

Megan Henry, “ACLU of Indiana, others urge people to reach out to lawmakers over Trump’s travel ban,” Indianapolis Star June 27, 2018

The ACLU of Indiana, Exodus Refugee Immigration and the Muslim Alliance of Indiana urged people Wednesday to contact their elected officials in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban against predominantly Muslim countries.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Tuesday overturned a series of lower court decisions that had struck down the ban as illegal or unconstitutional. The ban includes restrictions against Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela.

“It’s only through pressuring Congress to do the right thing that we will make changes to policies,” ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar said Wednesday afternoon during a news conference. “We believe that having a travel ban of this nature is inconsistent with our fundamental American values of freedom and equality.”

The Muslim Alliance of Indiana is putting together a letter-writing campaign urging people to contact their legislators, said Aliya Amin, the organization’s executive director.

“This county was established on principles that we’re welcoming and there have been principles that we are denying to people who are trying to leave their homes,” she said.

The resettlement of Muslim refugees has dropped by 85 percent over the past year due to the executive order, said Sara Hindi, Exodus Refugee Immigration community engagement coordinator.

“The court has failed to see this executive order for what it really is, a racist discriminatory policy towards Muslims,” Hindi said. “It not only creates a fear for people overseas who are seeking refuge in the United States or waiting to reunite with their family members, but it also creates an internal fear in our own refugee and immigration communities.”

The issue stems back to Trump’s first travel ban in January 2017, when he issued an executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The 90-day ban on people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on refugees worldwide, was struck down by federal district and appeals courts the following month.

The second version of Trump’s travel ban was issued in March 2017 and eliminated Iraq from the list of nations and exempted visa- and green-card holders but was struck down last spring.

Trump’s third version was issued in September and dropped Sudan but added Chad, North Korea and government officials of Venezuela. It also set criteria for each country and made it indefinite instead of temporary. Federal courts struck it down, but the justices allowed it to go into effect in December.

In April, Chad was taken off the list of Trump’s travel ban.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to ban Muslims and tweeted similar statements after the election.

Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s other four conservatives voted in favor of the ban, saying the restrictions are limited to countries designated either by Congress or prior administrations as having potential national security risks.

“The proclamation is squarely within the scope of presidential authority,” the chief justice said. Claims of religious bias against Muslims do not hold up, he said, against “a sufficient national security justification.”

David Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, said his organization “fully supports” the court’s decision.

“This country has every right and responsibility to protect its citizens,” Gorak said.

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