Community Organizations to Host Town Hall on White House Travel Ban

Signs at Los Angeles International Airport offering translation help for newcomer immigrants.
Signs at Los Angeles International Airport offering translation help for newcomer immigrants.

Signs at Los Angeles International Airport offering translation help for newcomer immigrants.

The Armenian Rights Watch Committee (ARWC) of the Armenian Bar Association finds the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 may threaten established United States law and international legal obligations.

PASADENA, Calif.The Armenian Bar Association has mobilized a task force ready to actively address matters involving any deprivation of rights resulting from enforcement of the Executive Order by President Donald Trump. To that end, a town hall meeting will take place at 8pm on February 9, 2017, at 2242 E. Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena, California in collaboration with the Armenian National Committee of America, Western Region (ANCA-WR), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the ARF Shant Chapter, the Armenian Law Students Association (ALSA), and the Syrian Armenian Relief (SARF). We have also invited the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to join us. Of course, we welcome the participation of other stakeholders to discuss these matters clearly impacting the discourse of human and civil rights in this country.

The United States government is obligated—under both US. Law and international law—to allow for the application of the asylum claims by non-citizens presenting themselves at U.S. borders and ports of entry.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides, in no uncertain terms, that “[a]ny alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States. . . irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum.” Under U.S. statutory law as well as human rights conventions, the U.S. may not return (“refoul”) a non-citizen to a country where she may face torture or persecution. See 8 US.C. § 1231(b); United Nations Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), implemented in the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (“FARRA”).

Consistent with these statutory and international law obligations, individuals arriving at U.S. ports of entry must be afforded an opportunity to apply for asylum or other forms of humanitarian protection—and be promptly received and processed by United States authorities.  Procedural due process requires that the government be constrained before it acts in a way that deprives individuals of liberty interests protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

After careful review, the ARWC fears that the Executive Order issued on January 27, 2017 (the “EO”) may threaten procedural due process rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment by denying persons presenting at U.S. borders and ports of entry the opportunity to apply for asylum.  The ARWC is also concerned that there may not be sufficient justification for the country of origin distinctions announced in the EO. To be clear, two troubling public declarations concerning the EO raise particular alarm as to its intended purpose: the first, by President Trump, who in a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network indicated a “preference to prioritize Christians” and, the second, by Mr. Rudy Giuliani, who in an interview with Fox Network revealed that Mr. Trump had first referred to what eventually became the EO as a “Muslim Ban” and asked Mr. Giuliani to devise a legal framework for it—which Mr. Giuliani later did, basing it on “danger” instead of religion.

The ARWC has been monitoring closely, with grave concern, developments following the issuance of the EO. To be clear, our interest is not to issue any opinion in support of, or against, a particular political agenda. However, as lawyers, we strive to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, that due process is afforded consistent with legal requirements and that government action reflects firm adherence to constitutional principles. The EO, we are concerned, raises substantive apprehension as to these legal issues.

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4 Comments

  1. Zaven Nazarian said:

    It was disappointing to read the opinions of ARWC. It shows confusion of mind, borderline logic and lack of understanding. It feels politically motivated, by self interest of a bunch of attorneys smelling freeloading. What’s wrong about preferring Christians for us Armenians?. Political correctness, but totally misplaced and misconstrued.
    The whole idea of a Town Hall meeting is useless waist of time. I can propose so many other beneficial acts for ARWC to pursue for sake of Armenians
    Zaven Nazarian, Washington D.C.

  2. Arman Kaymakcian said:

    Totally ridiculous and utterly preposterous to assume that the United States has an obligation to take any and every person attempting to enter our country regardless of the obvious threat they pose. Visiting as well as permanent residency into the U.S is a privilege not a human right. This is not the first time the U.S has slowed down immigration due to extenuating circumstances. Furthermore more I personally am relieved that finally Christians will be given precedence for once, under the Obama administration islam has taken precedence in our country, as well as has Palestine over Israel well thank God that is over. Islam is organizing terorist attacks and molbilizing throughout Europe, they are chopping peoples heads off and drowning others in cages and you are organizing legal council to ensure their entry into the United States and Europe is as hassle free as possible. It is nauseating, I’m so thankful to have a president in office who is concerned for our own citizens, and that I once again live in a country who leader uses his common sense rather than attempting to please the Global community. I’m hearing criticism from the likes of France, amazing considering the current state of affairs in there muslim slums. There are areas their police can’t even go and where shariah law is implemented into their own court system no thank you we in the United States would prefer the criticism of the world rather than to have what’s happening to Europe happen here.

  3. Zaven Nazarian said:

    One urgent subject that ARWC can examine is why a paper called Asbarez uses censorship in a free country by so called “moderating” the responses of the readers, similar to Turkish newspapers, where the is no freedom of speech and thought; a shameful act of course for this paper

  4. A. Zan said:

    I cannot believe Armenians who wrote this article think there is a problem with giving preference to Christians. Trump’s order could be the best thing to happen to Armenian Christians who want to come to the U.S.A. Instead of being a needle Christian in a haystack of Muslims, the Christians finally have a US President who is realistic about who commits terrorism crimes. Why on Earth would the ARWC want to invite the ACLU and others who do NOT want to give Christians preference. The ARWC doesn’t know anything and should be reorganized to start actually HELPING Armenians.

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