As a result of the implementation of the January 27, 2017 Executive Order titled “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” (the “Executive Order”), an unknown number of individuals returning from or otherwise entering the United States from majority-Muslim nations have been detained at major U.S. airports, including the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The number and circumstances of individuals affected has been difficult to establish, as reports indicate that the Executive Order has been implemented in a manner that permits individuals to be detained without an opportunity to confer with legal counsel. It has been reported, however, that many of these individuals have green cards or otherwise lawful bases to enter or return to the United States. Refugees seeking asylum in the United States are likewise prevented from entering and risk being sent back to the dire circumstances from which they are seeking to escape.
The Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) finds this Executive Order to cause serious legal and humanitarian concerns, not the least of which is the improper detainment, exclusion, and potential deportation—without due process—of individuals who are singled out on the basis of their national origin and faith. As members of a group that actively seeks to counter the effects of discrimination, stereotyping, and disenfranchisement, it is imperative that we unite against such acts when directed at anyone.
Accordingly, the DHBA opposes the Executive Order. In the midst of the drafting of this Statement, federal judges have entered orders staying the removal of individuals affected by the Executive Order and allowing some access to legal counsel, among other things, although the ultimate disposition of these matters is still left unresolved.
The DHBA is committed to promoting a legal system that upholds justice and is accessible to individuals affected by potentially discriminatory actions. The DHBA has joined the efforts of those in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex seeking to provide legal counsel to those affected by this Executive Order, and continues to work with elected officials and community organizations to recruit volunteer attorneys to provide basic civil legal counsel to the affected individuals. The DHBA will continue to pursue and participate in additional measures to ensure the legal rights of those affected are protected.