Many more are expected to face the same hardships experienced early this year.
Following the removal of lower courts’ repeated injunctions on President Donald Trump’s travel ban on visitors and residents from Muslim countries, many are again left stranded and scared without the financial resources to address their urgent problems. While the legal battle is far from over, many cannot wait for vindication and remedy in the United States court system, so they search for personal or public advocates.
Fortunately, as we saw earlier in the year at the dawn of the travel ban, prior to its repeated blockings in federal court, selfless volunteers in the legal world and elsewhere are making themselves available to those who might otherwise have little recourse.
The scene in Los Angeles mirrors those in many other large international airports, with attorneys and volunteers from organizations such as the National Lawyers Guild, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and ACLU occupying the immigration areas to ensure that those in need of help receive it in a timely and affordable fashion.
In what may serve as a promising omen, the L.A. Times reported as recently as yesterday that the effect on travelers has been far less disruptive than it was when the travel ban was first introduced and implemented. This may be due to a broader classification of individuals, namely family members of residents and citizens who are now exempt from the ban, or simply more cautious planning by wary travelers who saw the hardship of the policy firsthand earlier.
In any event, the lawyers began setting up three hours before the ban took effect to provide free legal aid and counsel to those in need. Alongside them stood activists protesting the discriminatory nature of the ban.
Ameena Mirza Qazi, the executive director of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, said, “Today is a lot more waiting and seeing. In January, we actively knew of people being detained,” adding that everyone on site, despite the paucity of needy travelers, remains “very concerned.”
So while the ban does now allow exemptions for immediate family members in transit, the relationship guidelines of the revised implementation dictate that many “grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law or other extended family will be subject to the same hardships and treatments that many more were in January.”