CAIR-NY Blog

The U.S. Supreme Court upholds Trump's Muslim Ban

As with previous wrongly decided Supreme Court decisions, 

it is up to the people of this country to determine our nation's future. 

trump muslim ban breaking.jpg

History has shown that progress and change come from the unwavering demand of the people. Social justice campaigns do not stop when our path to justice is partially obstructed. Instead, we work together to overcome the obstruction and march determinedly forward.

Today’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii upholding the President’s Muslim Ban adds a shameful chapter to our history. Make no mistake: the president’s executive order is a Muslim Ban. But this decision will not stop us from fighting for justice. 

Our predecessors refused to stop working against the 1857 Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott that asserted no people of African descent could be considered citizens of the United States. Our predecessors refused the injustice of the 1944 Korematsu decision that validated the removal and internment of over 100,000 people of Japanese descent. We too will refuse the injustice. We too will keep going. 

We have the power to demand change. Politicians --- our public servants --- can be made to fight back with statutory solutions. New litigation will emerge, further demonstrating what we already know: the Muslim Ban has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with hatred of Muslims

Your help and support is needed now more than ever. From pushing through the injustice of this Muslim Ban ruling, to combating emboldened xenophobes who use the president's rhetoric and policies as a green light to perpetrate hate crimes and harassment of Muslims, there is so much work to be done.  

And you can make it happen.

CAIR-NY is on the front lines of the fight for Muslim New Yorkers’ civil rights. We are the only ones on the ground, every single day, fighting with you. We will never give up, but our work is far from over.  

In solidarity,

Afaf Nasher, Esq. 

CAIR-NY Secures Generous Settlement for Victim of Employment Discrimination

CAIR-NY recently secured a generous settlement from a major company for a Muslim employee facing religious harassment at work. Since the beginning of her employment, our client’s coworkers and supervisors openly criticized her choice to wear a hijab, questioned her excessively about her religion, and asked her to defend Islam as nonviolent. She contacted CAIR-NY for assistance in reaching a settlement with the company. Our legal team was able to secure a settlement 40% higher than the one originally requested by the client. This settlement reaffirmed our client’s right to protection from workplace discrimination on the basis of her religion, and ensured that she would no longer be forced to endure such clearly unfair treatment.

New York City Commission on Human Rights Survey Project and Report on Bias-Motivated Harassment, Discrimination, and Violence

Link to Survey
 

From The New York City Commission on Human Rights:

In 2016 there was a 46% rise in reporting of complaints to CCHR on basis of race, religion, national origins and citizenship status. This,combined with anecdotal reporting of a rise in hate and bias incidents against Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Sikh, and Jewish (MASAJS) communities, led the Commission to convened a series of listening sessions with advocacy organizations, service providers, and community leaders to learn about the experiences and needs of various communities in New York City. As a direct result of these discussions and in response to the lack of comprehensive data about the scope and frequency of bias-motivated harassment, discrimination, and violence across at-risk communities, the Commission launched a survey project initiative to collect data on bias incidents, harassment, and discrimination experienced by the MASAJS communities in the City.

The Commission partnered with Strength in Numbers Consulting Group (SiNCG), an M/WBE research and evaluation firm experienced in conducting rigorous community-based survey projects in partnership with marginalized communities, to consult with partner organizations on the development of a survey. In partnership with SiNCG and 20 advocacy organizations, direct service providers, and CBOs serving the MASAJS communities in the City, the Commission convened 15 focus groups with 118 community members about their recent experiences with and perceptions of bias harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes. The findings of these focus groups served as the basis for the development of a 5-10 minute survey, available electronically or on paper, to gather data from MASAJS community members on their experiences of bias harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes since July 2016.

The survey will launch on October 12th, remaining in the field until mid-November, and will be available in Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian, Urdu, and Yiddish. The Commission is working with over two dozen community partners including CAIR NY on a comprehensive outreach and promotional strategy for the survey in an effort to yield a diverse and robust sample of the MASAJS communities in City. The Commission will publish a final report on survey findings to empower the Commission and other City agencies to better address and combat bias-motivated harassment, discrimination, and violence. The report and survey findings will also serve as an advocacy and fundraising tool for CBOs, advocacy organizations, and direct service providers.

 

Letter to Town of Hempstead Board of Appeals in Support of the Long Island Muslim Society

CAIR-NY recently submitted a letter to the Town of Hempstead Board of Appeals in support of the Long Island Muslim Society's application to allow them to expand their mosque and make much-needed improvements. American Muslims are facing constant push-back against mosque construction, and New York is no exception. 

On August 17, 2017 a representative from CAIR-NY also spoke at the hearing regarding the Long Island Muslim Society's case in support of the proposed mosque expansion and against religious discrimination.

Read The Letter Here

 

CAIR-NY continues to keep your phone safe at the border.

Today, CAIR-NY joined CAIR chapters from California, Florida, and Ohio along with Asian Americans Advancing Justice and several other leading civil rights organizations, to file a brief in federal court asserting that the search of cell phones and other electronic devices at the border is unlawful.

CAIR-NY submitted its brief in U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro, a case currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The brief contends that any search of cell phones and digital devices are “non-routine” and fall outside the border control exception to the 4th Amendment; therefore, all searches of such devices must require a warrant. CAIR-NY believes that electronic devices hold sensitive and extensive information and unwarranted searches are a gross violation of privacy and individual rights.

Read the brief here

 

 

This Morning’s Court Decision on #MuslimBan and What It Means

Court Summary

On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially reversed the lower courts’ decisions on the Muslim Ban 2.0 cases. The Supreme Court did three main things:

  • Full Case: the full case will be heard in the Fall of 2017, but the Supreme Court ordered a partial resumption of the Muslim Ban 2.0.
  • 90-day travel restriction: A 90-day travel restriction on certain visa holders from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who do not have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the U.S. will start on Thursday, June 29th. *Bona fide relationship is a sort of close familial relationship and is explained below.
  • Refugee program: Starting Thursday, June 29th, refugees who do not have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the U.S. will be affected by the Ban.

According to President Trump’s June 14, 2017v memo, the Ban goes back into effect “72 hours after all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed,” which would be June 29, 2017, around 9:30 a.m. EST. This situation is evolving, so please check back with our organizations frequently to hear updates.
 

Who Is Now Affected by Muslim Ban 2.0?

Travel Restriction for Nationals of Six Countries

  • The six countries affected by the Ban are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
  • Visa applicants from these countries must show a bona fide relationship with a particular person or entity in the U.S., or else they can be stopped from entering the U.S. for 90 days.
    • Individuals who already have a visa as of the date of June 29th, 2017, should not be affected.
  • U.S. citizens and green card holders (also known as Lawful Permanent Residents) are not affected.
  • Dual nationals who enter the U.S. using a passport from a non-affected country will not be targeted.
    • For example, if a dual citizen of Iran and the U.K. travels to the U.S. on his U.K. passport, s/he will not be affected by the Ban.
  • A waiver process will provide for an exception to the Ban, but there is no information available about it at this time.

Refugee Program

  • Starting June 29th, 2017, there will be a 120-day halt of the entire refugee program; refugees will not be able to come into the U.S. during that time unless they have “bona fide relationship with a particular person or entity” in the U.S.
    • A bona fide relationship with a person requires a “close familial relationship” to someone in the U.S.
    • U.S. entities can include schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, and employers. Others may also qualify.

More Details on the Travel Restrictions

The Court has partially changed the lower courts’ decisions on the travel restrictions. Visa holders are now divided into two categories: those who have a “bona fide relationship with a particular person or entity” in the U.S., and those who do not.

  • If the traveler does not have a bona fide relationship, then the Muslim Ban may apply to them.
  • If the traveler has a “bona fide relationship,” then the Ban does not apply to them and they should be allowed inside the country
  • A “bona fide relationship with a particular person or entity” in the U.S. includes:
    • People who are coming to the U.S. to “live with or visit a family member.”
    • People who have a “formal” and “documented” relationship with an entity, like a school or employer.
      • For example, a “worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company;” a “lecturer invited to address an American audience;” and students who have been admitted to a U.S. university have a bona fide relationship.


More Details on the Refugee Program

  • The Court has partially changed the lower courts’ decisions on the Refugee Program restriction. Refugees are now divided into two categories: those who have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the U.S., and those who do not.
  • If the refugee does not have a bona fide relationship, then the Ban applies to them and the person could be kept out of the U.S. if they meet the requirements of the Muslim Ban 2.0.
  • If the refugee has a “bona fide relationship,” then the Ban does not apply to them and they should be allowed inside the country;
  • What is a bona fide relationship with a particular person in the U.S.?
    • Refugees with a “close familial relationship” to someone in the U.S. cannot be stopped from coming into the U.S. (even if the refugee cap listed in section 6(b) is already surpassed).
    • If a refugee does not have a close family relationship with someone in the U.S., then Muslim Ban 2.0 could block them from coming to the U.S.


How to Get Legal Help?

CAIR-NY offers legal help free of charge. You can contact CAIR-NY if:

  • You or someone you know is affected by the Muslim Ban and you want legal help (we highly recommend you speak with an attorney if you are traveling and are a visa holder from the 6 countries); or
  • Your community would like to request a “Know Your Rights” presentation.

Fill out our travel form for legal assistance:

Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York : www.CAIR-NY.org


For Further Reading

[Muslim Ban 2.0]: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states
[Supreme Court Decision]: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-1436_l6hc.pdf
[June 14 Memo]: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/14/presidential-memorandum-secretary-state-attorney-general-secretary


Sincerely,
Your CAIR-NY Staff

Our sincerest thanks to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area and the Asian Law Caucus for their assistance in preparing this alert.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: CAIR-NY's anti-bullying commitment

Today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. One huge area affecting the youth in our communities is bullying. On this day, we hope to spread awareness and reaffirm our commitment to combat this growing problem.

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding noted that 42 percent of Muslims with children in school report that their children are being bullied. CAIR California reported 55 percent of Muslim children are bullied on the basis of their faith.

It is not just Muslim children who are experiencing high rates of bullying. CEPTA, a health clinic based in Atlanta, reported that Latinx youth are being bullied at an increased rate since the presidential elections in November 2016.

Bullying is painful. We have heard everything from verbal abuse and intimidation to appalling accounts of physical violence including broken limbs and hijabs being ripping off. Latino children as young as five years old have been verbally abused by their peers being told to “go back to Mexico.” Others are surrounded by their peers who chant “Build a wall.”

The youth face the brunt of many of the attacks that our communities face, but with less experience, less knowledge, and fewer tools. These young victims of bullying are also more likely to face a range of mental health issues – including depression, poor school performance, and increased suicide risk – because of their experience.

On this day and every day, we all mustreaffirm our commitment to our children. We must work harder to empower them to speak up when they feel unsafe. We must commit to creating safe spaces for them. We must provide them the tools and resources to work through the issues they face as results of their trauma. It is on us to help them, and we encourage everyone to learn and assist as much as they can.

If your child or children have been subject to discrimination, hate, harassment, physical violence, or any kind of abuse or intimidation, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 646-665-7599.

If you would like to learn more about how to make our communities safer for our kids, request an anti-bullying workshop through our website at http://www.cair-ny.org/event-request/ .

CAIR-NY Testifies on NYC Council Privacy Legislation.

CAIR-NY's Legal Director, Albert Cahn, testified before the NYC Council, addressing two privacy measures that would potentially protect immigrant crime victims.  Intros 1588 and 1557 would expand on New York's existing sanctuary city policies, which police officers from asking crime victims about their immigration status.  Read the full testimony here.

Letter to Progressive Caucus on the POST Act

CAIR-NY recently called on progressive City Council Members to support the POST Act, a vital bill that would protect New Yorkers’ civil rights.  The POST ACT would require the NYPD to disclose the expanding array of surveillance tools it’s using to spy on our city.

For years, the NYPD has circumvented City Council oversight by using federal funds and grants to purchase new and highly-invasive technologies.  Our elected officials, who are entrusted with overseeing the NYPD, must have the chance to ask how and why these funds are being used.

Read The Letter Here

 

NYPD Notes a 100 Percent Increase in Hate Crimes

In a recent press conference, mayor Bill De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neil relayed statistics on crime relative to last year. While general crime has seen an overall decrease, the uptick in hate crimes has been dramatic. In just a three-month period, the city has already seen 144 incidents, up from 72 at this point last year- a 100% increase.

Jewish and African-Americans have been the primary targets of these incidents, many of which are non-violent such as pro-Nazi graffitiing across the five boroughs.

While CAIR-NY is appalled by this revelation, we remain mindful of the fact that underreporting is a serious problem in various ethnic and religious communities. We urge all victims of hate crimes to immediate alert law enforcement so that they can swiftly find perpetrators and gather more accurate data.

CAIR-NY also supports additional funding for enhanced detection of and investigation into alleged hate crimes given the growing number of hate crimes in New York.

CAIR-NY keeps your phone safe at the border.

Today, CAIR-NY joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading civil rights organizations to file a brief in federal court, arguing that it is unconstitutional to seize and copy a traveler’s phone at the border without a warrant.  CAIR-NY is fighting back against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which argues that they can seize any electronic device at the border, including those belonging to U.S. citizens.

CAIR-NY submitted its brief in U.S. v. Kolsuz, which is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  CBP officials seized Mr. Kolsuz’s phone and conducted two warrantless searches, including “extensive forensic testing.” CAIR-NY believes that such searches violate travelers’ “dignity and privacy interests,” in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Read the brief here

Our Latest Guidance on Muslim Ban 2.0

Dear community members and friends,

We've received President Trump's latest Executive Order targeting Muslims and refugees. We are appalled at this renewed attempt to assault our American values, targeting individuals based on race, religion, and national origin.

Although this order is unsurprising, a more complete analysis will take time. We are offering some preliminary guidance on who this executive order affects. We will send out more details as they become clear.
 

What you need to know: 

  • This Order DOES NOT affect:
    • U.S. Citizens;
    •  Lawful permanent residents (green card holders); 
    • Individuals with currently valid visas regardless of whether they are in the country or not;
    • Dual nationals traveling with any passport other than one from the six countries listed below; and 
    • Refugees and those granted asylum on or before the date of this Order. Also excluded are those granted protection under the Convention Against Torture.

  

  • This Order DOES affect: People applying for new or renewed immigration status within the next 90 days from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. 
    • Iraq has been removed from this list
  • The refugee program is being halted immediately, for 120 days. This will mean that anyone, anywhere in the process, will not move forward. 
  • Expanding the Restricted Entry List: DHS will perform a "country-by-country" review in which the list of countries may be changed. 

What you should do to protect yourself:

  • Non-citizens, even green card holders (lawful permanent residents) from one of the six countries named above, should consult with an attorney before traveling in or out of the country.
  • Please keep looking for updates in the coming days to assess your travel options. If you are facing an emergency at the airport or border, call us at: (646) 665-7599.
  • Regardless  of your citizenship, do not permit law enforcement to enter your home without a warrant. Even if they have a warrant, you should not speak to them without consulting with an attorney.

What you can do to push back against this:

  • Call your members of Congress and the U.S. Senate at (202) 224-3121 to ask them to speak out against anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry and oppose these Executive Orders
  • Join us for upcoming civic engagement opportunities, which will be announced in the coming days.



 

About World Hijab Day

Since 2013, people of all faiths have come together to recognize February 1st as World Hijab Day. Founded by Nazma Khan, the day supports the right of Muslim women to wear the headscarf or “hijab” in observance of Islam. The U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws protect everyone's rights to practice his or her faith, whether it be through prayer, religious study, or wearing religious garb.  Our highest laws defend American Muslims from discrimination and harassment targeting their faith.  These laws extend from the schoolyard, to the workplace, to areas of public accommodations.  No matter how strong our laws, we know that Muslims in America are experiencing harassment, discrimination, and even violent hate crimes.

In schools: A recent report from CAIR California showed that 29% of Muslim students who wear headscarves have experienced offensive physical interaction. This includes, but is not limited to, pulling someone's hijab. Shockingly, 27% of Muslim students have experienced discrimination coming from their own teachers. We affirm that no student should feel threatened just because he or she wears a religious garb. We further affirm that no student should feel afraid of being physically or verbally abused because of his or her religion.   

See: https://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/13215-cair-ca-report-more-than-half-of-california-muslim-students-targeted-by-faith-based-bullying.html    

In the workplace: The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from firing or refusing to hire candidates based on religion. Despite these prohibitions, discrimination against women wearing the hijab has lead to major litigation against giants like Abercrombie & Fitch and Disneyland. In the former case, the matter was heard in the U.S. Supreme Court after a Muslim woman was refused a job because of her choice to wear a hijab. The result of this case made it clear that businesses must create a safe environment for all people regardless of “race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.”  

See: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/for-muslim-women-workers-bias-can-start-with-the-interview/433278/

Public Places: According to the FBI, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by a striking 67% nationwide. Incidents of harassment and violence have occurred in public places such as grocery stores, parks, and on transportation. Regardless of venue, a Muslim woman is always legally protected to wear the hijab and deserves to feel safe.

See: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/14/us/fbi-hate-crime-report-muslims/


See: https://www.abqjournal.com/896172/muslim-shopper-wearing-a-hijab-harassed-by-woman-at-grocery.html 

Civil rights should never be selective or subjective; rather, they must encompass and protect everyone equally. Attempts to infringe upon these rights will undoubtedly face legal and social repercussions. It is more important now than ever to raise awareness about the rights of Muslim women, and by extension, of all people. February 1st, World Hijab Day, is an affirmation of these truths and our month long campaign is dedicated to hold intact the right of religious freedom for all peoples. 

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Aligned with its mission, the NY chapter of CAIR works diligently to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.  

 

 

We're Still Here

The inauguration we’ve all been dreading is over and guess what?  We’re still here.  We know you’re afraid, we know the unbearable uncertainty you feel, but in the face of fear, we’re seeing a community united by courage.  Across this state, New Yorkers of every color, faith, gender, age, and ethnicity are reminding ourselves of our own power.  Time and again, the American people have channeled our outrage into the enduring work of making a better, freer, and fairer nation.

We at CAIR-NY stand ready to carry on this proud tradition, working to secure a society that protects the rights of all people. Today, President Trump took an oath to protect and defend the constitution.  He assumed responsibility to safeguard religious freedom, freedom of press, and the rights of all Americans.  Today, we take our own oath...to keep him to that promise.

We’re ready to take on this fight, but we can’t stand alone.  Although we’re proud to be part of the nationwide CAIR network, each chapter is responsible for raising its own funds, and we rely on your contributions for our continued commitment to civil rights. Our voice is louder when the community supports our work, so please consider making a secure donation in President Trump's honor today.

CAIR-NY participates at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs panel: The Uncertainty of U.S. Immigration Policy - "Where Do We Go From Here?"

CAIR-NY's Albert Fox Cahn spoke on a panel titled: The Uncertainty with Immigration: Where Do We Go From Here?.

Watch the video here:  https://livestream.com/sipa/events/6726906/videos/143833624

The goal of the forum is to bring together leading activists and practitioners to discuss the implications of impending changes to U.S. immigration policy following recent elections and provide strategies for organizing around this issue on both a local and national level. 

The event is co-sponsored by SIPA Students of Color (SSOC) and the SIPA Diversity Task Force and is part of the Dean’s Seminar Series on Race and Policy. 

Moderator: 
• Hon. Michael Nutter, Former Mayor of Philadelphia and David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University 

Panelists: 
• Elora Mukherjee, Esq., Director, Columbia University Law School Immigrants' Rights Clinic
• Albert Fox Cahn, Esq., Director of Strategic Litigation, New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
• Steven Choi, Esq., Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
• Aracelis Lucero, Executive Director, Mexican American Students' Alliance (MASA)
• Domenic Powell, Advocacy and Policy Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

A promise to our Muslim neighbors.

By Albert Fox Cahn, Esq.
CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation

Yesterday, CAIR-NY gave a civil rights training at NYU, when a young woman raised her hand to describe a conversation with Rep. Mike Honda about his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. When she asked the Congressman if Muslim internment camps would be possible today, he said “yes.” Her voice shaking, she asked if we thought it was possible. It floored me, and for a moment I had no idea what to say. Then I looked out the windows behind her, and I saw the protest unfolding in Washington Square. Thousands of New Yorkers, coming together to stand against Donald Trump's unconstitutional campaign promises.

My response was this: “No, that will never happen. The reason isn’t found in the wording of our Constitution or the wisdom of our founders. It won’t happen because the people of this city, this state, and this flawed country will never let it happen. In the wake of Pearl Harbor there were no protests, there was no dissent, there was no solidarity with our Japanese neighbors. Today, there is an army of lawyers and activists primed to fight this presidency every step of the way. Khizir Khan famously asked Donald Trump if he had ever read the Constitution. I promise you, we and other civil libertarians will teach him what it means.”

CAIR-NY will do everything I can to uphold that promise, and I know that there are many others toiling away to do the same. I ask those of you who aren’t in a position to join this work directly, please donate to the groups who will, such as CAIR-NY (http://www.cair-ny.org/donate). Please add your voices to the chorus of Americans who say that our nation and our values are more resilient than any one man, even a President.