On the Executive Order Restricting Immigration from Seven Muslim-Majority Countries – by John S. Kiernan

In response to hearing from so many members expressing concern about President Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, below is an update about what the New York City Bar Association is already doing and some information about what the Association is planning in the days and weeks ahead. Because the situation is fluid and changing on a daily, even hourly, basis, these plans may be modified as well. The intent of this work is not political or partisan; rather, the City Bar’s efforts in this area are fully consistent with its mission of support for the fair administration of justice, equal access to legal representation, and the rule of law.

Over the weekend, the City Bar Justice Center’s Immigration Project was out at JFK airport (along with members of our Immigration and Nationality Law Committee) and other groups providing services to detained travelers. Justice Center attorney Laura Berger is quoted at length in this article.

We know that many of you would like to join them, but because immigration law is so complex, we believe volunteering at the airport is best for experienced immigration attorneys. If you qualify, you can apply to volunteer here.

For those (myself included) who want a better understanding of the legal issues at the center of this event, we are putting together a “Special Briefing for Members: Immigration Update on the Executive Order.” We plan to have this available ‘on demand’ on our website within days. We anticipate providing further special briefings in the coming weeks.

The Justice Center will be making its Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project office at the Eastern District Courthouse available for pro bono attorneys to file habeas motions on behalf of clients affected by the ban. If you have habeas experience, are admitted to the Eastern District and have an ECF number, you may contact City Bar Justice Center Executive Director Lynn Kelly.

If you are interested in representing hate-crime victims and peaceful protesters, download the Justice Center’s toolkit and watch a video presentation on the topic here.

Governor Cuomo has announced a State hotline for detainee families: 1-888-769-7243. This will be especially relevant and valuable for families residing in counties outside New York’s largest cities, where there are not as many immigration attorneys.

Finally, to see the transition memos our committees have written so far to the Trump Administration, click here

It is heartening to see our members, and attorneys everywhere, responding to current events in such great numbers and with such great energy. We continue to welcome your input, and we look forward to working with you on these and other issues in the time ahead.

John S. Kiernan is President of the New York City Bar Association