Last Friday, at 4:22pm, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, suspending all refugee admittance for 120 days and blocking citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
The order immediately wreaked havoc on the United States immigration system and in airports at home and overseas, prompting protests worldwide.
Although the order did not technically affect naturalized United States citizens from the seven aforementioned countries, in reality students, visitors and green-card-holding legal and permanent United States residents from the seven countries, as well as refugees from around the world, were stopped at airports in the United States and abroad, some blocked from entering the United States, and some sent back overseas.
Before the order was fully executed, lawyers from the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center anticipated the chaos for their clients. Gearing up, the organization sent out an email on Wednesday summoning lawyers to volunteer at airports across the country where refugees were planning to enter the United States.
The turnout? Outstanding. By early Sunday morning, the group said that there were lawyers offering services and advice at “most international airports in the United States.”
Attorneys from major law firms and nonprofits alike banned together, essentially taking over terminals in Kennedy International Airport, working late nights and early mornings to keep all people safe, regardless of whether they were their initial clients or not.
While protesters with signs and spirit surround airports, lawyers have been filing actions and petitions day and night, helping detainees and their families, making an impact during this time of uncertainty in the way they know best.
Read the full story here (via the New York Times)
Header photo by Maria Teneva / Unsplash