AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA: Targeting Muslims and Refugees Betrays American Values and Will Not Make Us Safer

1/27/17 AILA Doc. No. 17012701.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) denounced President Trump's Executive Order that is based on the false premise that barring Muslims and refugees from coming to America will make us safer. AILA called on Congress and the public to stand up against this action which is antithetical to core American values. These policies will do little to improve national security and will create enormous delays for people coming to the U.S.

Among other things, the Executive Order:

  • Suspends the refugee program for 120 days and suspends the Syrian refugee program indefinitely;
  • Caps refugee resettlement numbers at 50,000 for FY 2017;
  • Suspends immigrant and nonimmigrant entry for people from predominantly Muslim countries for a minimum of 90 days while the government undertakes a review of visa issuance and immigration benefits processes;
  • Requires in-person interviews for nonimmigrant visa applicants;
  • Establishes requirements for "extreme vetting";
  • Prioritizes refugees whose claims are based on religious persecution but only if the person's religion is a minority in their country of origin;
  • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to expedite the completion of an entry-exit system.

William A. Stock, AILA President, warned, "Refugees are already required to go through an extremely rigorous vetting and security clearance process. These people are literally fleeing for their lives and the lives of their children. Shuttering our refugee program in a time of great need is the wrong thing to do. Rather than slamming the door, we should be welcoming them and offering the protection which America has historically provided as the beacon of light to the world. President Trump makes it seem like these changes will be temporary by 'suspending' programs, but based on the positions he has taken and the stringent conditions imposed, the U.S. refugee program will be severely crippled."

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson cautioned, "Make no mistake: This Executive Order is a thinly veiled effort to make good on the President's promise to ban all Muslims from coming to the United States and to end our long, proud history as a leader in providing protection to those fleeing persecution. Discrimination is anathema to the principles upon which our nation was founded, is contrary to the principles of the Constitution, and has no place in a just and free society. AILA will do all that it can to oppose these policies, and is proud to join faith leaders, business leaders, and law enforcement from across the country in speaking up against these policies. It is time for Congress to do the same."

"This order also requires all families, business persons, scientists, and students from most countries to appear for an in-person interview before they can obtain a temporary visa, even if they have previously been vetted and cleared," Mr. Johnson added. "This will create enormous challenges for consular posts, which have extremely limited resources, and poses a significant risk that commerce, business and international exchange will slow to a crawl, with devastating consequences for many sectors of the American economy."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.