Trump reintroduced his shameful travel ban executive order earlier today, and despite some tweaks, it remains unconstitutional and based on religious discrimination.
The ACLU successfully fought for injunctions to block deportations and other features of the first executive order, and I was happy to see this today in Rollingstone, based on an interview with Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project:
"We believe the new order continues to be based on religious discrimination," Gelernt tells Rolling Stone. "That was the core problem with the first executive order and remains a serious problem with this executive order."
The ban was "narrowed in light of the court decisions, but it wasn't narrowed sufficiently to eliminate the constitutional problems," Gelernt says. The new changes don't go into effect until March 16th, but the ACLU will be in court before then to try to keep the current injunctions in place.
One of the most glaring legal issues with the original order – the likely reason former acting Attorney General Sally Yates said the Department of Justice would not defend it in court – was that both the president and his advisers made public statements implying the ban was religiously motivated.
During the campaign, Trump famously called for "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani said the president asked him to help write an order that wouldn't appear discriminatory. "When he first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban,'" Giuliani told Fox News in January. "He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'"
The administration has tried to argue that the ban is targeted toward countries that lack the capability to properly vet travelers before they reach the United States.
"All of the statements leading up to the issuance of the first executive order, as well as statements made after, reveal that this is a Muslim ban, period," Gelernt says. "The fact that the government has tweaked the language in the second executive order does not eliminate that discriminatory taint."
The Department of Homeland Security has refuted the entire premise of Trump's ban ("country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity" and more recently "most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists [are] likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns") and national security and diplomatic veterans from both Democratic and Republican administrations say the ban will be counter-productive to anti-terrorism efforts.
Beyond all that, this divisive policy based on hatred, fear and religious intolerance is simply morally reprehensible. We have a moral imperative to resist this policy and to protect the vulnerable.
Toward that end, ModNomad Studio welcomes and provides sanctuary for all people seeking safe shelter from Trumpism, and we make this pledge:
As people of conscience, we pledge to resist Trump's proposals to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We open up our home as sanctuary spaces for those targeted by hate, and work alongside our friends, families, neighbors and collaborate with dedicated organizations to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.
To help others who may be interested in joining the new sanctuary and moral resistance efforts, I've pulled together some reading about past and present sanctuary movements.
Update March 7: Our Tactics Must Change
We will ultimately defeat this extremist, vicious and autocratic regime through civil and nonviolent resistance—and by articulating and building a massive movement around a more just and effective vision for meeting the complex needs of people and planet.