7 Ways to Prepare, and Fight Back: Supreme Court Muslim Ban Decision

AI USA provides the following information for those impacted by the Executive Order barring entry into the United States for people from six Muslim majority countries; Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Canadian citizens or dual nationals of these countries should not be affected by this ban, but permanent residents of Canada may encounter difficulties obtaining a visa to travel to the United States. Those facing difficulty at the US border will find the following information helpful.

Naureen Shah, AIUSA Senior Director of Campaigns

The Muslim and refugee ban will partially go back into effect, following the June 26, 2017 Supreme Court decision. The court partially lifted an injunction on the ban that’s been in place since days after President Trump issued it in late January.

There are 180 million nationals from the six banned countries; several tens of millions of them will be banned for 90 days, and so too will many refugees — for at least 120 days, and maybe longer.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a hot mess. The language is so vague and disconnected from the realities of our immigration and refugee systems, that we don’t yet know how the Trump administration will interpret it (UPDATE June 29: The State Department has provided more information today and the effects could be devastating for refugees. Tens of thousands of refugees from countries all over the world who were in the process of being resettled in the United States may not be able to come this fiscal year). It bans people from the 6 countries as well as all refugees, unless they have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. The Court says: “For individuals, a close familial relationship is required.”

What’s clear is that thousands of people will be hurt:

  • People fleeing violence and trying to rebuild their lives — the same way any of us would if we were in their shoes — may be denied entry.
  • Kids and adults who need life-saving medical care — burn victims, survivors of war and torture, ordinary people who need cutting-edge treatments — may not be able to get it.
  • Especially vulnerable individuals without close family ties in the U.S. may not be able to enter
  • American families with extended relatives abroad may be unable to reunite.
  • Prospective foreign students, scholars, foreign policy experts, religious figures — all could be denied entry if they’re from one of the banned countries and they haven’t already formed a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The same goes for artists and performers.

But the fight isn’t over — it’s just beginning. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Know Your Rights at the Airport

The ban will formally go into effect on June 29.  Here’s what to what watch out for at the airport: Being questioned about your religious and political beliefs; searches of yourself and your possessions; and temporary detention at airports. Before you head to the airport, you can consult this Know Your Rights guide from the ACLU.

2. Know How To Respond If You Face Problems

If you’re arrested or believe your rights have been violated, you should contact a lawyer (more on that below).

If you face improper questioning at the airport, here is what Muslim Advocates recommends:

  • Politely object, saying that you do not consent to an improper search (but do not under any circumstances resist physically);
  • Ask to speak with a supervisor to express your objection;
  • Keep a record of the agents’ names and badge ID numbers and what transpired; and
  • Report the incident to Muslim Advocates using this secure online form.

Muslim Advocates and partners are also hosting a community information call to update impacted individuals on the status of the ban and provide know your rights information.

 3. Get Legal Help If Your Rights Have Been Violated

Legal organizations are offering assistance to those impacted by the ban. Visit Dulles Justice Coalition to request legal help, or look up immigration lawyers via American Immigration Lawyers Association. For a list of free legal service providers, check out the Justice Department’s list.

4. Join Protestsand Make Sure the Whole World is Watching

There are likely to be demonstrations against the ban happening, once word spreads. Before joining in any protests that could potentially put you at risk, please be prepared. Check out Amnesty’s protest safety tips. And please remember that Amnesty International members do not engage in civil disobedience.

5. Show Up in Solidarity

As human rights activists working in solidarity with marginalized communities, it is vitally important to show up in a respectful and responsible way. This resource is primarily made for allies who do not self-identify as Muslim, Arab, South West Asian or North African. Among our tips: Reach out to local Muslim and Arab community organizers to find out how you can show up as an Ally.

Be aware of how much space you are taking up and more importantly when to step back. Practice self-awareness and mindfulness. When in doubt; listen then offer. If you do not self identify with the impacted community be aware that you are a guest in that space. As a good guest you do not want to overstay your welcome or dominate the space.

6. Contact your member of Congress.

Now that the Supreme Court has partially sided with the Trump administration, Congress must intervene.

7. Talk to your friends and family about hate.

Ever since President Trump issued the Muslim ban, we’ve seen a reported rise in hate-based violence, harassment and discrimination. Today’s decision is a moment for us to engage our families, neighborhoods and social circles in a conversation about this tide of hate: Why each of us has a responsibility to speak out when it happens — whether it’s a casual slur or couched as a political opinion.

You can use our Reality Check on Anti-Muslim Hate. For thoughts on how to navigate tough conversations with your personal circles, and your community, download our guide.