Around the Appleseed Network
On January 31, as chaos played out in U.S. airports and around the world, a Somali woman with an immigrant visa was detained at Dulles Airport.  When she refused to sign a form voluntarily revoking her permanent resident status, her two children-both U.S. citizens-were locked in a bathroom without food or water.  The government even shipped the woman’s luggage back to Somalia.

Yesterday, Appleseed sent this mother’s story, and many others, to the Department of Homeland Security, whose Inspector General is investigating what just happened, and what went wrong.

And we’re not done gathering stories: if you have information on an immigrant or refugee affected by the recent Executive Order, please let us know at eortiz@appleseednetwork.org.

After the White House executive order barred refugees worldwide and immigrants from a number of Muslim countries, chaos ensued as Customs & Border Protection Officers struggled to interpret the order.  Immigrants and refugees were detained in airport holding pens and stranded around the world.

Now, even as an epic court battle goes forward, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General office has begun reviewing how the Executive Order was implemented, whether court orders were obeyed, and whether allegations of government misconduct are true.

On Monday, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties asked Appleseed for information it had gathered on affected immigrants and refugees.  Yesterday Appleseedfiled a preliminary report pulling together a first batch of stories gathered by volunteer attorneys at Dulles Airport.

All of this happened because a remarkable surge of volunteer lawyers stepped forward, aided by Appleseed board co-chair Steven Schulman.  They came out to airports and interviewed travelers around the world.  And a pro bono team at Latham and Watkins-a firm with a deep history of pro bono support for immigrants and refugees-pulled together the reports for Appleseed’s filing.  (Latham was honored with Appleseed’s Pillars of Justice Award last fall.)

“It’s amazing how public interest organizations, individual, and firms all worked together so seamlessly and quickly,” says Schulman.

We’re not done.  We’re gathering more stories.  Help us show the government what went wrong:   If you know anyone with information on an immigrant or refugee affected by the Executive Order, please let us know today at eortiz@appleseednetwork.org.

And if you want to help us give the most vulnerable among us a chance to build a better life, please make a tax-deductible contribution today to the Appleseed Network or one of our 17 amazing Centers.

-Bert
Help spread the seeds - share! Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page