The impact of the Trump administration’s travel ban on travelers from majority Muslim countries was the focus of a Friday town hall at a Detroit mosque hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter.
Just over a dozen community members gathered at the Islamic Center of Detroit on the city’s west side for the “Know Your Rights” informational session led by CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy Doukoure.
The presentation revolved around the recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court involving incarnations of the travel ban, which President Donald Trump’s administration first proposed in January and targeted majority Muslim countries, as well as dealing with customs officials or police.
Fatima Alhanek, 21, of Dearborn, heard about the event during Friday prayers and said she wanted to learned more tips in case any of her relatives face problems.
“I was just curious about this issue,” she said. “I should know things before anything happens.”
The Supreme Court allowed a scaled-back version of the travel ban to take effect in June — including a 90-day bar on entry to those traveling from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who lack any “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
Weeks later, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ordered the government to allow in refugees formally working with a resettlement agency in the nation. He also greatly expanded the family relations that refugees and visitors can use to get into the country.
The Trump administration appealed. In July, the High Court decided authorities can strictly enforce prohibition on refugees but left the weakened travel ban that includes grandparents among relatives who can help visitors from the six countries to enter the U.S.
Doukoure said U.S. citizens should not be affected by the measures, but advised them to prepare before traveling out of the country. Moreover, holders of visas and green cards can be “subjected to more scrutiny and fewer protections” at the border, she told the attendees.
During inspections, U.S. citizens can decline to answer questions about their religious or political beliefs, Doukoure said. Green card holders can also do so, but may be delayed or denied entry, and visa holders “most likely will be turned away,” the attorney said.
Friday’s forum also covered tips for law enforcement contacts. Authorities can generally enter a home only with a valid search warrant, Doukoure said. If they lack one, the resident does not have to let them in or have further contact.
“Your silence is your shield,” Doukoure said, adding there are limits during police traffic stops, as well.