ACLU Statement on Trump’s First Congressional Address

February 28, 2017 11:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — In response to President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress, American Civil Liberties Union National Political Director Faiz Shakir issued the following statement:

“Tonight, we heard more empty pablum from President Trump, completely divorced from the reality of harm he has inflicted on America’s most vulnerable communities.

“Trump’s speech did not address the grave human impact of his bankrupt policies, among them Sara Yarjani and Hameed Darweesh, ACLU clients affected by his discriminatory Muslim ban who were in attendance tonight. Sadly, there are reports that President Trump plans to issue a revised Muslim ban executive order tomorrow.

“The ACLU will continue to fight tirelessly for all Americans and our constitutional values, so that everyone in the United States is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, no matter their religion, race, ethnicity, gender identity or legal status.

“America is already great, thanks to our core values of equality and justice for all. We look forward to advancing equality and challenging Trump to do the same, as we have done for nearly one hundred years. We will defend our values, defend our Constitution and we will continue to see this administration in court in order to do so.”

The two ACLU clients in the gallery of the U.S. Capitol tonight include:

Sara Yarjani, an Iranian graduate student who was affected by President Trump’s Muslim ban, was invited by Rep. Judy Chu as her guest for Trump’s first address to Congress. Yarjani has a valid two-year student visa, but was detained for 23 hours at LAX and deported. She was able to enter the United States a week later.

Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi husband and father of three who worked for the U.S. military as an interpreter, was invited by Rep. Nydia Velázquez. Darweesh was detained at John F. Kennedy airport for 18 hours before being released.

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