January 31, 2017
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) denounces the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 that bans people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, suspends the admission of refugees for 120 days, and suspends the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely. We join the seventeen state attorney generals who have called the Executive Order “unconstitutional and un-American” and have vowed to “work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.”
“The Executive Order is effectively a Muslim ban and threatens fundamental American values,” said AABA President Hung Chang. “We praise the lawyers who quickly descended on airports to help immigrants detained under the Executive Order, including children who were separated from their families. We reaffirm our oath to support the Constitution, and pledge to stand with immigrants, refugees, and families affected by the Executive Order.”
As one of the largest Asian American bar associations in the United States and one of the largest minority bar associations in California, we know the dangers of discriminating on the basis of national origin or religion. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese laborers from entering the United States under penalty of imprisonment and deportation. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 permitted the mass incarceration of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent, the majority of whom were U.S. citizens, under the guise of military necessity. After 9/11, our nation experienced a surge of xenophobia and members of our community faced an increase in hate crimes and incidents. We urge our nation’s leaders not to repeat these tragedies of American history.
As a bar association that includes refugees, we oppose efforts to reduce the number of refugees entering the United States. We know firsthand the importance of America’s leadership role in welcoming refugees fleeing violence, war, or persecution. Refugees already face a rigorous screening process, and we have witnessed how refugees have enriched our communities and culture.
AABA urges the President to rescind the Executive Order. We urge the Legislative branch to protect our great nation by performing its duty to serve as a check and balance to the Executive branch of government. We urge officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to comply with court orders staying the Executive Order and to ensure that all detainees have access to counsel.
We call upon our members to take action against the Executive Order: