This weekend, as people from seven Muslim-majority countries were either deported or detained due to President Donald Trump’s confusing and hastily written executive order, citizens of all stripes rushed to international airports around the country to protest. Hundreds of lawyers also rushed to the airports to offer legal assistance to those in need. I was one of those lawyers.
I spent my weekend at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia working alongside an amazing group of people from various organizations who dedicated their weekends organizing, canvassing crowds for information, and coordinating litigation efforts to try and do whatever they could to help. Despite conflicting reports, and a lack of any credible information from the government, everyone knew that those who were detained or deported were targeted because they were Muslims.
As a litigator at Americans United, I am not surprised to see religious minorities targeted—we come across it regularly. But the sheer scope, transparent purpose, and scattershot nature of the Executive Order issued on Friday was unlike anything I have seen. Luckily, so was the response.
Bradley Girard at Dulles International Airport. (Photo Credit: Grace Lally)
The horde of volunteers pulled together, treating no task as too small to be a priority—from printing, to research, to interviewing witnesses. (Thanks, as well, to the unbelievable generosity of those who kept a steady stream of food, drinks, and supplies coming in to Dulles.) I was happy to be part of a group of protestors and other lawyers who were ready to stand up to discrimination in any way they could. And I have no doubt that the number of people who showed up as lawyers, elected representatives, or protestors made a significant difference (if you have any doubt about that, watch a video of someone being reunited with family after hours of detention).
During my weekend at Dulles, I felt pride that I work for an organization that fights on the right side of these issues on a daily basis—whether in courts, legislatures or chapters throughout the country. And so long as the Trump Administration keeps pushing an unconstitutional agenda, we’ll continue to be out there fighting. We hope that you’ll continue to be there fighting alongside of us, we’ll need your help.
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