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OFFICIAL STATEMENT: Recent Executive Orders are an affront to the American values we hold dear, and that we will fight to uphold

January 26, 2017

In the wake of yesterday's unprecedented assault on immigrants' rights, Public Counsel stands firm in our commitment to our immigrant clients and community. The President’s newly announced Executive Orders on immigration enforcement and border security – as well as the anticipated ban on refugees – will cause needless suffering, tear families apart, encourage racial profiling, expand inhumane detention, and waste billions of dollars. The President’s actions are an affront to the American values we hold dear, and that we will fight to uphold.

For decades, Public Counsel has represented those who seek refuge in the United States, helping them to find safety from persecution and torture. The President’s Executive Orders will endanger the lives of thousands of men, women, and children who would otherwise have found respite here. They are a xenophobic assault on our country’s long history of providing refuge to those who seek freedom. 

Judy London, Directing Attorney of our Immigrants’ Rights Project, declared: “Public Counsel will continue to use every means at its disposal to aid asylum seekers and to defend their rights under the Constitution and the treaties to which the United States is a signatory. These decrees remain the highest law of the land.”

The President’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement and border security represent a resurrection of the worst failed policies of past administrations and an attack on due process. The Executive Order on immigration enforcement unconstitutionally attempts to coerce our city and state to participate in a deportation dragnet by threatening the withdrawal of federal funds necessary for critical programs serving vulnerable populations, including homeless residents and veterans. Meanwhile, the Executive Order on border protection does nothing to protect our borders. Instead, it endangers asylum seekers and expands already vast and inhumane detention centers. 

“Expanding an already-failing immigration detention system is more than bad policy,” said Talia Inlender, Senior Staff Attorney with the Immigrants’ Rights Project. “It is cruel to force asylum seekers, often victims of unjust imprisonment in their countries of origin, to sit in jails and private prisons while they go through a lengthy court process – in most cases without counsel.”

Public Counsel strongly opposes the President’s actions, rooted in racism and fear, and we will work tirelessly now and in the coming years to protect the rights of our immigrant community.