Saturday, January 28, 2017

Do: help the ACLU with legal costs of fighting the Muslim ban.

Want to do something?  Set up a sustaining donation with the American Civil Liberties Association.

Yesterday, the Trump administration imposed a temporary halt to all immigration, refugees, or entry into the United States of America by anyone who has citizenship in one of the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  In a strict sense, this sort of stoppage is not unprecedented; at one point the Obama administration did the same thing for Iraqi citizens, for example.  But in a more realistic sense, the scope of this ban and the context for its passage -- i.e. the long-promised Muslim ban of the Trump campaign -- is also pretty bad.  There's two reasons why.

It's impractical and kind of stupid, for one thing.  This blanket ban hurts a lot of people who are supposed to be on America's side, such as Iraqi and Afghani translators who have been working for America for years and were promised they could emigrate, or permanent citizens -- some of whom have been here for decades and who have green cards -- who were on vacation or visiting their homes.  The text of the ban (and the current implementation, according to chaotic first reports) even includes dual citizens of other countries... even some members of allied governments (like some British Members of Parliament such as Nadhim Zahawi and the Canadian Minister of Immigration).  And reciprocal bans are going up... Iran is planning on it, which will mean American nuclear inspectors are blocked from their work.  And since it plays into the whole "Islam versus the West" narrative, ISIS has already begun to feature the "American Muslim ban" in their recruiting.  There's a reason Presidents Bush and Obama went to such lengths to make it clear Islam was not America's enemy.  Lastly, of course, since there's virtually no crime or terrorism coming from those seven countries, so we're expending a ton of international political capital and goodwill for nothing.

But beyond the practical problems, many Americans -- myself included -- find this repugnant to American values.  The ban is only of majority-Muslim countries, and it explicitly also says that when (if) immigration and refugees and visitors and residents are allowed back in, preference will be given to members of the minority religious sects in those countries.  This sort of means Yazidis and the like, but really it mostly means Christians.  And in modern-day America, we do not discriminate against the lives of brown people or Muslim people or anyone else.  Further, we're a nation of immigrants who came from the rough countries.  Impoverished British, enslaved Africans, broken Germans, and starving Irish came in their successive waves and faced discrimination and hatred and pain.  Our ideals of inclusion and universal liberty were forged in the mingled fires of a thousand past perditions.  Give us your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free!

So do you want to help fight this?  I trust I don't even need to tell you to contact your representatives and Congressional leaders about this -- see the link on the sidebar for their contact info.

Here's something else, though: as in so many times in the past, the ACLU is waging war against illiberties.  They've already filed suit, and more suits are coming.  They're believers -- they've fought for the free speech of Nazis! -- and you can count on them to stay true.  Support them.  But don't do it with a one-time donation of $20.  Set up a monthly sustaining donation, so that it automatically goes through.  It doesn't have to be a lot, especially if you don't have a lot of money (Lizzie and I only give a few dollars a month), but it allows them to budget consistently and fight forever.  And it lets you freely ignore their spam emails asking for more, since you know you're already giving!

Set up your monthly donation today.

UPDATE: The ACLU won a ruling from a judge.  In less than 24 hours, they got two good plaintiffs, wrote their brief, filed suit, got a hearing at 7:30 on a Saturday night, and got a binding nationwide order to block all enforcement of the refugee/visa ban.  Show them your gratitude.

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