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Statement by The Bar Association of San Francisco Regarding the Executive Order on Immigration

February 1, 2017 -- San Francisco, CA -- The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) decries the Executive Order issued by President Trump on January 27, 2017, imposing widespread limitations on immigration and entry to the United States, effective immediately and without notice. An Executive Order denying immigration and safe harbor based upon country of origin and religion is cruel and intolerable, and likely unlawful. The detentions of the travelers are reminiscent of dark times in our nation’s history wherein immigrants were held at Ellis Island and Angel Island, and denied equal access to justice.

The Executive Order bans entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, prohibits any entry by Syrian refugees, and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. Immediately after the execution of the order, hundreds of travelers including lawful U.S. residents were detained or denied entry. This has caused serious hardship and emotional stress to extremely vulnerable people, including people in the Bay Area. While aspects of the order have been stayed by a number of jurisdictions that found the Executive Order to violate due process and equal protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution, it remains in place and continues to deny entry to lawful residents and persons who meet the criteria for admission as refugees.

Local attorneys, including those working with the San Francisco Immigration Legal Defense Collaborative, mobilized to assist with representation of those detained and denied entry. As a community, many of us want to do more. The newly-formed BASF Immigration Task Force will work with government and immigration law leaders to provide necessary legal services for those who are unlawfully detained, and will provide information, education and updates on how to keep our community knowledgeable about the imperiled rights of those who are victimized by this Executive Order.

BASF salutes those courageous individuals, such as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, for resolutely upholding the Constitution, human rights, and civil rights. BASF stands in solidarity with all of those nationally and internationally who defend and protect individuals who are currently attacked based upon race and religion, and requests immediate repeal of this harmful and divisive Executive Order.

To refer a person in need of immigration legal help, direct them to call 415-989-1616.

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The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,300 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, and its volunteer legal services programs and other community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote and achieve equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.