Amidst reports from around the nation of mass demonstrations in airports, court orders and customs officials standing in flagrant defiance to those court orders, multiple news organizations are reporting that 16 attorneys general from across the U.S.–including Hawaii AG Doug Chin–have signed a statement that “condemns” President Donald Trump’s immigration ban yesterday on Muslims from seven nations.
The ban incredibly pertains not only to those seeking to move to the U.S., but also many who already have Green Cards. Chaos reigned at airports across the country last night as customs officials detained Muslims and civil liberties attorneys, many operating on a bono basis, camped out in airport terminals as they fought to get the courts to stop Trump’s order. It’s yet another sign that Trump is behaving more like a fascist dictator than a public servant beholden to the rule of law.
“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, in this ACLU blog post from yesterday.
Chin’s office hasn’t responded to a call asking for comment. But here’s the text of the statement, as reported by Penn Live earlier this morning:
As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.
Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth.
Yesterday, multiple federal courts ordered a stay of the Administration’s dangerous Executive Order. We applaud those decisions and will use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values.
We are confident that the Executive Order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.
In a story from the Independent in the UK that was posted five hours ago, Chin is quoted as saying that “We do believe the executive order is unconstitutional,” though he apparently refused to say anything else.
UPDATE: This afternoon Chin’s office released this statement on his opposition to Trump’s ban: “As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful Executive Order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith.”
UPDATE II: After news of the AG’s statement broke, Hawaii Governor David Ige released his own denunciation of Trump’s Muslim travel ban. Here it is, in full:
I have been in contact with Attorney General Doug Chin regarding several orders issued by the federal courts in the last 24 hours. We believe these orders apply to all U.S. international airports, including those in Honolulu and Kona, and expect legal travelers to this country to be welcomed in Hawai‘i without being detained unlawfully by the federal government.
Refugees entering the United States are screened by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI, Defense and State departments, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Refugees fleeing from war and persecution seek, simply, a better life.
Hawai‘i has a proud history as a place immigrants of diverse backgrounds can achieve their dreams through hard work. Many of our people also know all too well the consequences of giving in to fear of newcomers. The remains of the internment camp at Honouliuli are a sad testament to that fear. We must remain true to our values and be vigilant where we see the worst part of history about to be repeated.
Photo of AG Chin courtesy State of Hawaii