CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly two dozen lawyers’ groups in the Chicago area have banded together in opposition to President Trump’s controversial travel ban.
Retired Cook County Judge William Haddad, the founding president of the Arab-American Bar Association, said lawyers and judges must stand by the oath they have taken and must “stand by the rule of law.”
“No one is bigger; no president, nobody is bigger than the Constitution of the United States,” he said.
Haddad called President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. by people from seven predominantly Muslim nations a solution in search of a problem.
“No one disputes the president’s authority to control immigration where there is a rational basis; but not on the basis of religion, not on the basis of ethnicity, and certainly not without due process of law.”
Lawyer and Muslim immigrant Vivian Khalaf, a member of the advisory board for the American Middle East Voters Alliance, said everyone in the United States wants a safe and secure America, but she said that does not happen by targeting one religion.
“We cannot lose our moral compass while attempting to secure our borders. Refugees are not terrorists, they are fleeing terrorists,” she said.
Khalaf came to the U.S. with her parents as immigrants when she was 6 years old.
“The misinformation being rolled out each and every day by this administration in its attempt to justify the Muslim ban is only an attempt to place fear in the hearts of the American public,” she said.
She said she does not just see those who hate Muslim and Arab-Americans.
“There’s also been an escalation in the good in America, and I see that every day, and I’ve been seeing that for the last two weeks, and that makes me proud,” she said.
Dan Kotin, president of the Chicago Bar Association, said it’s clear President Trump, in attacking the federal judge who halted enforcement of the travel ban, was taking at the separation of powers, which is the fabric of the U.S. Constitution.
Azam Nizamuddin, president of the Muslim Bar Association, said what’s happened the past couple weeks is not simply turnover of one presidential administration to the next.
“It is imperative that we, as lawyers and judges, stand up to restore order and balance in our democracy,” he said.
On Monday, the federal government must file legal briefs justifying the president’s travel ban. A federal judge in Washington state has suspended the order, and a federal appeals court could rule on the travel ban as soon as Tuesday.