Days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring from the United States all refugees as well as citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, many local and statewide organizers are working to fight it.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, condemned the executive order on the House floor. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked whether the Justice Department is properly vetting Trump’s orders. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy unveiled legislation that would block Trump’s ban.
Attorney Michael T. Doyle, who oversees the Church of the City Immigration Advocacy & Support Center in New London, said he has been losing sleep as he figures out the next steps.
The order, which went into effect Friday, put into place an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, as well as a 120-day ban on other refugees. It also made it so all citizens of seven countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — couldn’t enter the United States. Instantly, visitors and even people with green cards were detained at airports in the United States and abroad.
Doyle joined a rapid response team organized by the ACLU so he could offer services to those in limbo at Bradley International Airport who might need his help.
“We really feel that what we’re seeing is devastating to the fabric of our country. … We’ve got to speak loud and often. We have to stand fast against each unconstitutional act, each violation of civil rights” – ATTORNEY MICHAEL J. DOYLE
Doyle and his staffers also have made it known that any immigrants with questions can bring them to the advocacy and support center. And they’ve advised people from the seven specified nations to stay in the United States, even if they have green cards, which are held by permanent legal residents of the U.S.
Doyle is used to directly aiding immigrants, whether by helping them navigate visas and green cards, walking them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or assisting them when they’re victims of crimes including domestic violence and human trafficking.
Now he and other center employees are working to join with other similar organizations “to convert our voice into political change.”
“We really feel that what we’re seeing is devastating to the fabric of our country,” Doyle said, adding that he doesn’t want to look back decades from now and wish he hadn’t been silent.
“We’ve got to speak loud and often,” he said. “We have to stand fast against each unconstitutional act, each violation of civil rights.”
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