With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the ACLU of Indiana said Wednesday the fight to overturn the executive order to prohibits certain immigrants from entering the United States must now move from the courtroom to the grassroots.
Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, encouraged members of the Indianapolis community to tell their Congressional delegation and other elected officials that they do not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“It’s we the people that will decide American’s character and future,” Henegar said.
Henegar spoke at a press conference held at the Exodus Refugee Immigration office in Indianapolis. She was joined by Gavin Rose, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Indiana, Sara Hindi, community engagement coordinator at Exodus, and Aliya Amin, executive director of The Muslim Alliance of Indiana.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Trump v. Hawaii found the order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries was within the president’s authority.
“Presidents have repeatedly exercised their authority to suspend entry on the basis of nationality,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. “And on plaintiffs’ reading, the President would not be permitted to suspend entry from particular foreign states in response to an epidemic, or even if the United States were on the brink of war.”
Hindi said the Supreme Court “failed to see this executive order for what it really is — a racist and discriminatory policy towards Muslims.”
She noted the Trump Administration has reduced the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 for fiscal year 2018 which ends Sept. 30. At the Exodus offices, the number of individuals granted refugee status has fallen from 954 in fiscal year 2016 to 200 so far in fiscal year 2018.
“People do not choose to become refugees,” Hindi said, “but the United States can choose to welcome them. Instead during the largest refugee crisis in global history with over 68.5 million displaced people, the United States has chosen to shut its doors on the most vulnerable population.”
Both Hindi and Amin echoed Henegar in advocating for Hoosiers to contact their senators and representatives.
Rose characterized the majority opinion as a decision about how to evaluate the president’s rhetoric in light of the discretion all presidents enjoy over issues of immigration and foreign affairs. He also pointed out the majority included a “long overdue repudiation” of Korematsu v. U.S., 323 U.S. 214 (1944), which upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“While certainly disappointing and not altogether surprising, I think it is important to note that yesterday’s decision condones neither religious discrimination nor the president’s rhetoric concerning this particular issue,” Rose said.