Social justice and civil rights organizations are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban immigrants from coming to the United States.
The order issued Friday calls for a four-month ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
A federal judge in Brooklyn late Saturday granted a nationwide temporary stay on part of that order — halting the removal of refugees and people stuck at airports.
The ACLU and refugee relief organizations filed the action in federal court Saturday morning on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq, both Iraqi citizens. They were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, in a statement.
The government also has to hand over a list of those being detained, Gelernt told reporters after Saturday’s ruling. The ruling could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained at airports.
WATCH: Immigrants rights attorney Lee Gelernt coming out of the court where the ACLU argued to block Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. pic.twitter.com/uuceRwT8jo
— ACLU National (@ACLU) January 29, 2017
Civil rights and social justice organizations and groups are denouncing the ban, calling it “Islamophobic, xenophobic and bigoted.”
The Frontier sought comment from Oklahoma’s congressional delegation over the weekend. On Sunday, U.S. Sen. James Lankford’s office issued a statement that neither supported nor opposed the policy but criticized its impact.
“This executive action has some unintended consequences that were not well thought out. I encourage the president’s staff to evaluate American policy with an eye on both security and compassion for the refugees fleeing the terrors of war and persecution,” the statement says.
The Frontier attempted to contact U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe via email, social media and phone calls. Inhofe has five offices at taxpayer expense, including one in Washington, D.C. The voicemail boxes of all five offices are full.
.@jiminhofe has 5 offices at taxpayer expense. The voicemail boxes of all 5 are full. Lankford & Bridenstine DC voicemail also full. WTH?
— Ziva Branstetter (@ZivaBranstetter) January 29, 2017
Constituents who have tried to contact Inhofe’s office via phone for months told The Frontier they were also unable to leave voicemail messages.
Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican representing Oklahoma’s 4th District, said in a statement released Monday reactions to Trump’s executive order have been “all out of proportion to its intent and impact,”
“Critics have described the order as a Muslim ban. It is not,” the statement says. “It does not impact over 40 Muslim-majority countries. Some have claimed the order is illegal. It is not.
“While the courts will ultimately rule on this matter, it appears that the President is acting within the law and the recognized powers of the presidency.”
In a 2015 article from The Oklahoman Cole criticized Trump’s proposal to stop Muslims from coming to the U.S.
“One of the founding principles of the United States is religious liberty.” Cole said at the time.
“Banning people from coming to the United States on the basis of their religious faith alone would be a violation of our ideals, traditions and basic instincts as a people. In my opinion, such a proposal is both unconstitutional and fundamentally un-American,” Cole said in a statement to The Oklahoman.
“As a lifelong Republican, I am disappointed that any serious candidate for my party’s presidential nomination would make such a disturbing and reckless proposal. This is a time in which we should follow our best instincts and traditions, not give into our worst fears.”
U.S. Sen. James Lankford told The Oklahoman that “religious freedom is a fundamental human right of all people and is a constitutionally guaranteed right in this nation.”
“In America, anyone can practice the faith of their choice, or choose no faith at all that’s what makes America great,” Lankford said in 2015.
“Our fight against ISIL and radical Islamic terrorism is a war unlike any America has ever faced. Our enemy is not all Muslim people; it is the thugs who seek to kill and terrorize the innocent. The whole world is waiting for genuine American leadership in the fight against terrorism.”
Here’s what local civil rights and social justice groups had to say about Trump’s executive order:
Veronica Laizure, Civil Rights Director for CAIR-OK:
“We must remember that these policies are an echo of a darker time in American history when we demonized Japanese-American citizens because of their ethnic background and turned away needy Jewish refugees out of fear and suspicion. These executive orders are the continuation of a policy that is Islamophobic, xenophobic, and bigoted, and they do not make our country safer; rather, they marginalize our Muslim neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family, and do not reflect our nation’s values of religious and ethnic inclusion.”
Moises Echeverria, President and CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ):
“In a time of greater divide, it is important to remember the principles and values which have made our community and nation a place of opportunity and refuge for many. Emma Lazarus captured so eloquently the compassion and selflessness which we strive to emulate, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free . . .’ We urge leaders of our state and nation to consider the countless lives who will be negatively impacted by measures which aim to turn our backs on the most vulnerable.”
Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma said:
“Banning Muslim refugees and immigrants from entering our nation is cruel, dangerous and unconstitutional. The United States has long prided itself as a haven for people seeking help. Refugees fleeing war and oppression are looking for a safety in American democracy. Turning away from the world’s most immediately vulnerable recalls dark periods in our nation’s history and is surely not the message we wish to send to suffering citizens of our own country or of the world.”
Chelsey Branham, Director of Social and Economic Justice at the YWCA of Oklahoma City:
“YWCA Oklahoma City is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, and has been a long-time, proud partner with CAIR Oklahoma. They have supported our organization in a multitude of ways from donations of food and clothing for women and children in our program, to volunteering and attending our educational events. We are a much stronger organization because of their dedicated support. It is imperative that as we fight systemic and institutional oppression, that we work together and reinforce efforts to stem the tide of hate and oppression impacting Oklahomans. We will continue to support CAIR as we all stand for a just and equitable society.”
The President of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, Rabbi Abby Jacobson:
“We are a nation predominantly of immigrants, with each new wave of immigrants bringing new ideas, innovations, and energy to American industry and culture. They have added to the labor pool, and have become job-creators and investors in our society. The words on the Statue of Liberty remind us to provide safe harbor and a new home to these immigrants from war-torn countries. Few of us really can understand how devastated their lives have been. By standing up for these new immigrants, you/we will also be standing up for the values on which our country has stood for generations. We urge President Trump to refrain from his plans to stop their acceptance to our country, and we urge our legislators of both parties to resist this action against Syrian refugees in particular, and Muslim refugees from other nations.”
Arturo Delgado, Board Member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
“Building a wall is not the solution to the problem of undocumented immigration into this country – it costs money that we don’t have, and there are still methods of entering the country without documents. Immigration from Mexico is actually decreasing, contrary to what President Trump’s rhetoric might have you believe. This action does not increase our safety, and it’s not where we should be focusing our efforts.”