WBA Statement on Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the US

Statement of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Regarding
Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
February 2, 2017

The Trump administration recently issued an Executive Order (“EO”) limiting the admission of both immigrants and nonimmigrants (including visitors, students, and workers) from seven countries with predominately Muslim populations, and of refugees from all countries. This EO has raised significant concern among many groups, including the humanitarian and legal communities. The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBADC) shares many of these concerns.
During the course of its almost 100-year history, the WBADC has worked directly to advance and protect the interests of women lawyers, and through its Foundation, served the legal and related needs of women and girls. Therefore, the WBADC views with grave concern the restrictions set forth in the EO, which may have a severe and significant impact on the well-being and safety of immigrant and refugee women and children.[1]
Immigrants seek out the United States as a place of opportunity, freedom, and most importantly, safety. Through our Foundation’s work with D.C.-based organizations, the WBADC has a first-hand view of the many challenges already facing immigrant women and children. “The two orders dial back years of progress and put women and girls fleeing violence in a very precarious position, one in which many will face being denied safety or protection when they need it most,” said Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy and Programs at Tahirih Justice Center, a past Foundation grant recipient. To the extent the EO as written or enforced puts immigrant and refugee women and children in harm’s way, the WBADC is deeply troubled.
Founded on the principle of promoting the administration of justice, the WBADC holds dear the notions of due process, equal protection under the law, and freedom of religion. The EO raises serious questions regarding these ideals, as highlighted by the actions of the former Acting United States Attorney General, federal judges and state attorneys general across the nation. As an active legal organization committed to ensuring integrity in our profession, we share the concerns expressed by other groups and legal professionals over these recent developments.
The WBADC is heartened that many in our profession have acted in their capacity to express their concerns over this EO, including immediately answering the call to service by forming ad hoc legal clinics at many of the country’s airports. The legal profession is fundamentally about service and advocacy, and we support our colleagues – many of whom are women– who are literally on the ground ensuring that those affected by this EO are afforded the legal counsel and representation to which they are entitled.[2] The WBADC encourages our members who would like to be involved in the many efforts surrounding this EO to seek out other local voluntary professional legal organizations to offer your time and talents, as well as the non-legal community to support these efforts because respect, humane treatment and compassion are nonpartisan qualities that we proudly embrace and protect.
[1] https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-08/it-s-now-clear-most-syrian-refugees-coming-united-states-are-women-and-children; https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/07/refugees-and-migrants-fleeing-sexual-violence-abuse-and-exploitation-in-libya 

[2] http://www.americanbar.org/publications/perspectives/2016/spring/in_public_interest_women_follow_their_passion.html