A recent anti-Trump demonstration in New York City (Midtown Manhattan). Photo: Asia Times/Doug Tsuruoka
A recent anti-Trump demonstration in New York City (Midtown Manhattan). Photo: Asia Times/Doug Tsuruoka

A major Asian American civil liberties group has condemned President Donald Trump’s revamped March 6 travel ban blocking citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

“This latest version of a Muslim ban fails to address national security concerns and continues to violate constitutional protections for immigrant communities,” Margaret Fung, the executive director of the New York-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), said in a statement.

The AALDEF is a national organization, founded in 1974, that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans in the US.

The president’s new executive order will halt admissions to the US, effective March 16, of nationals from the affected countries for at least 90 days. It supersedes Trump’s January 27 travel ban suspending the immigrant and non-immigrant entries of individuals from seven Muslim nations, including Iraq.

Iraq is no longer included in the current travel ban. It was reportedly removed after US Defense Secretary James Mattis advised the president that Iraq’s inclusion would hamper coordinated efforts to fight Islamic State.

The AALDEF says Trump’s latest order is designed to work around a successful legal challenge in the federal courts that blocked implementation of his original travel ban in January. The White House is reportedly trying to address legal objections by exempting lawful permanent residents and dual nationals traveling on the passports of non-designated countries, as well as individuals in special cases from the ban.

“We don’t think that the do-over of the travel ban passes legal muster. We think its discriminatory intents and impacts will be challenged once again in court,” said AALDEF staff attorney Annie Wang.

The group says its legal staff is monitoring how the government implements the new executive order. It’s also offering free legal consultations to community residents and their families who may be affected by the order and is sponsoring legal workshops and training in preparation for the new order’s effective date on March 16.

Among other things, Wang says the AALDEF is planning to hold an immigration law workshop at a mosque in Jackson Heights, in Queens, New York. She says the group is also collaborating with South Asian attorneys to offer educational and outreach events for immigrants in New Jersey and New York City. Information on the workshops will be posted on the AALDEF website, Wang said.

Anti-Jewish attacks slammed

Meanwhile, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the national organization for persons of Japanese ancestry in the US, has issued a statement condemning a wave of threats against Jewish community centers in America and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in St Louis and Philadelphia.

Reports say over 100 Jewish community centers and schools have received bomb threats in 2017. Nearly 300 gravestones were also reportedly vandalized in attacks on the Chesed Shel Emeth Society in University City, Missouri, and the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The JACL tied the hate crimes to what it termed “the rise of xenophobia and racism” in the US over the past year that also led to the February shootings of two Indian Americans at a Kansas bar “due to the shooter’s belief that they were immigrants.”

Noting Trump’s call for the country to “stand united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms” in his February 28 State of the Union address, the JACL said, “we urge the administration to translate these words into actions that will lead to the apprehension and conviction of the perpetrators.”

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