Monday, January 30, 2017

NOTES FROM INDIVISIBLE EMERGENCY CALL TO STAND AGAINST THE MUSLIM AND REFUGEE BAN

Over 25,000 people RSVP’d for this call. As the call was in session, Trump fired Assistant Attorney General Sally Yates for not defending the Muslim Ban.

There are over 5,000 local Indivisible groups nationwide. The activism at airports has made a huge difference in just a few days.

What you can do to stand against the Muslim and Refugee Ban: (Ezra Levin with Indivisible Project) Empowering local activists and groups using their constituent power. Theory of change: Donald Trump’s agenda depends on your Members of Congress (MoC) rubberstamping.

Indivisible recommends these “asks” regarding this federal policy issue. There are a lot of actions that can be taken at the state and local level, plus pressuring corporate entities (Wall of Us).

A Senator simply saying he/she opposes the ban is not enough. Senators need to do these things, ensuring that Congress takes no action until this ban is eliminated. These two things can be asked of all Senators, whether Democrat or Republican.

Withhold Consent. Any single Senator can ‘withhold consent’—a procedural maneuver that puts Senate business on pause for days at a time. When Senate Leadership asks for “unanimous consent” to move forward with business as usual, your Senator should say “I Object.” This will dramatically slow (for days, perhaps) Trump’s other priorities from moving forward until he lifts this odious ban. A meaningful tool to encourage Senators to use. #WithholdConsent
No Justice, No Bills. Your Senator should commit to filibustering EVERY bill that comes up in the Senate until Trump’s illegal, unconstitutional Executive Order is rescinded. By filibustering, your senator can stop all of Trump’s future legislative priorities. The ONLY bill that should be allowed to come to a vote is a bill ending the Muslim and refugee ban. (Note that Cabinet nominations can’t be filibustered) #NoJusticeNoBills

Hundreds of MoCs have not been taking positions on this ban. Don’t allow them to stay silent! If they oppose the ban, they should do everything they can to withhold consent and filibuster. Don’t just believe that because you have a progressive Senator that they’re doing everything possible.

OTHERS WHO SPOKE DURING THE CALL:

Indivisible co-hosted this call along with Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), National Immigration Law Center (NILC-IJF).

Spokesperson for International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP): Among those barred are individuals who have worked sacrificially for the US government and who have family in the US. We’re facing the largest refugee crisis since WWII. 50K will be the smallest number of refugees settled since the program was founded in 1980.

Spokesperson for American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Multiple lawsuits filed raising various legal claims. The biggest picture legal problem is that the Constitution prohibits religious discrimination. In December, Trump called for a total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the US. The executive order discriminates against Muslims in two respects: denied passage on airplanes and detained upon arrival under great duress. Lawsuits filed on emergency basis, asking judges for a temporary restraining order. All preliminary rulings have found that the executive order is likely unconstitutional. One injunction forbids the government from sending people back; the other forbids the US from detaining people until Feb. 5 (court expected to rule on whether to extend). New arrivals are covered by these injunctions. Many other lawsuits have been filed and will be filed in the coming days to deal with problems of people stuck abroad, etc. 16 AGs have declared executive orders unconstitutional. Acting US attorney general Sally Yates has issued order to US officials not to fight injunctions b/c she believes the executive order is not defendable under the Constitution. She has now been fired for refusing to defend this ban.

Spokesperson for Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ): Fielding phone calls from affected travelers and families. “Immense amounts of fear and confusion.” Green card holders now (at least in San Francisco) are being let in, but they are still undergoing over-screening and extreme vetting. Example: an older couple in their seventies was retained for over 30 hours yesterday. Hours of pressure were required to release this couple. “Egregious noncompliance is requiring that we monitor the situation.” Attorneys posted at airports aren’t allowed into “secondary inspection” to talk with detainees. (This is an ongoing policy, not a new one.) Protests at airports have been very meaningful. Detainees and attorneys feel empowered by the public outcry; hope that it continues. We need to keep the pressure on to ensure that rights litigated in court are implemented.

Spokesperson for National Immigration Law Center (NILC-IJF): Trump has impulsively and recklessly turned the immigration system on its head. Trump agenda to demonize and criminalize immigrants. This is what he’s been about all around. Wants to build this symbol, the wall, that says that Americans don’t want you (immigrants) to be here. With the Muslim ban, we saw the impact immediately. Spontaneous outpouring of support, immediate legal challenge that resulted in a temporary legal win. Other executive orders signed last week will inflict pain and panic for immigrants. One essentially bullies local police into becoming immigration officers plus supersizes border agents while freezing immigration judges. This will cause chaos in the courts and will cause immigrants to stop asking for help from local police. Border wall: net migration from Mexico has been zero over the last couple of years. Huge cost plus environmental impact plus cuts across territory of indigenous tribes. “We expect other attacks on immigrants from this administration.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions supports the Muslim ban and would likely defend it. Now is a potential turning point and rallying point for slowing the momentum of the Trump agenda, but still receiving reports from immigration agents who are threatening to turn people back. “This is all rooted in an extremist agenda that is hostile to all immigrants and refugees.”

Q & A

Q: Seems like a Constitutional crisis seems to be looming. What happens then?

A: Trump has not instructed agencies to ignore the court orders (injunctions). However, there has been enough noncompliance at individual borders that there may be a need for Federal Marshalls to enforce. The firing of Sally Bates is very, very serious. Seems to harken back to Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, Richard Nixon. Expect this to set up quite a battle on Jeff Sessions vote.

A: Department of Homeland Security is trying to issue guidance to officers, but it took a while to get there. Announcements from White House have said they’ll comply but then include defiant language. Definitely have seen officers at airports not complying with judicial orders. How is this administration going to hold officers accountable? Congressional reaction: on both sides, feeling uncomfortable, expressing concern and opposition to what this President is doing. A clear opportunity to get MoCs to be even bolder, along the lines of what Indivisible advises, to keep this administration from rolling over the other two branches of government.

Q: After Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, how will we keep focused on this ban.

A: It’s been a dark time, but everyone on this call is in awe of the public response. Show up at public events. This is a crucial time right now. Get out there. Join your local group. We’re going to get through this. We’re seeing victories. It’s not hopeless if we stick together. Resist and we’ll win.

A: The organizations represented here will continue working on this issue.

A: Get involved. Volunteer with issues that you’re passionate about.

Q: A lot of judge appointments blocked by Congress during the Obama administration. Rumors about anti-LBGT executive order?


A: For judgeships that need Senate confirmation, we need to keep pressure on MoCs. These are lifetime appointment. Moderates just going along to be collegial – can’t afford that. At some level, may have to create delay. Not good for system but may be our only chance at this moment.

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