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CABA Statement on Recent Executive Orders on Immigration


CABA Statement on Recent Executive Orders on Immigration

Feb. 6, 2017

          The Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA) expresses its grave concerns regarding the executive orders on immigration, issued on January 25 and 27 of this year.  The Jan. 25 executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement, among other things, call for the construction of a physical wall and additional detention facilities on the southern border, seek to expedite removal proceedings under immigration law and require that individuals be detained throughout removal proceedings.   The Jan. 27 executive order blocks entry into the United States for nationals from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen for 90 days, suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, and indefinitely suspends entry to refugees from Syria.

          As an organization of Chinese American attorneys, descended from immigrants or immigrants ourselves, CABA has experienced first-hand the ugly history of exclusionary immigration laws in this country, and the extraordinarily harmful effects they have had on our communities.  The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 outlawed all Chinese immigration to the United States and denied citizenship to Chinese already in the country—the act was renewed and extended indefinitely until 1943.  The Scott Act of 1888 expanded upon the Chinese Exclusion Act, and barred Chinese from returning to the country after leaving the United States.  We reject xenophobia and nativism, and we reject discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.  We stand with immigrants and refugees, and we stand with the Mexican, Latino, Arab and Muslim communities.

Call to Action:

·         Call your senators and representatives through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to express your views on the Jan. 25 and 27 executive orders and on immigration policy.

·         Volunteer as pro bono attorneys and translators to represent people affected by the executive orders.  The National Immigrant Justice Center provides free legal representation through volunteer attorneys for unaccompanied immigrant children, immigrant survivors of domestic abuse, low-income individuals seeking to apply for naturalization, and persons seeking asylum. It has an extensive pro bono program for attorneys as well as an interpreter corps.

·         Work to help immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers transition to life in America.  The Chinese Mutual Aid Association seeks volunteers to work with K-8 youth as part of an after school program, work with middle and high school youth as part of a group mentoring program, tutor adults in ESL, help process immigration petitions, as well as other activities designed to help immigrants and refugees transition to life in America.

·         Assist with voting rights and community advocacy in the APA community.  Asian Americans Advancing Justice seeks attorneys and law students to assist with “Know-Your-Rights” presentations in the community; legal researchers; interpreters and translators; volunteer community advocates (includes training to engage policy makers and/or speak to the media); media volunteers to take photos and videos at community events; database managers.

·         Support the work of the Chinatown Pro Bono Legal Clinic.  The Clinic seeks (1) Chinese-speaking law students or interpreters to volunteer on clinic day or on specific cases, and (2) attorney volunteers to provide advice to clients and to take pro bono cases in the areas of family law, real estate, landlord-tenant, immigration, housing, contracts and warranties, consumer fraud, employment, housing, probate, torts, collections, criminal matters, municipal and regulatory laws.

·         Visit Illinois Legal Aid Online (, which maintains a calendar of events, offers online trainings, and hosts a database of volunteer opportunities.

Other Organizations to Assist:

·         RefugeeOne ( is seeking people to donate cash and “Welcome Kits” or to co-sponsor refugee families. You can also employ a refugee.

·         Muslim Advocates ( is a legal and policy organization and is seeking donations to support its litigation efforts.

·         CAIR-Chicago, a non-for-profit and the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, has created a Traveler’s Assistance Project (“TAP”) to help travelers secure legal help ( It is seeking more people for its volunteer attorney corps and interpreter corps.

·         The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights (, which works with unaccompanied immigrant children, needs Child Advocates (guardians ad litem) and interpreters now more than ever.

·         The American Immigration Council ( is a non-profit, non-partisan organization which works with policy makers and the general public on immigration policy advocacy, litigation, research, communications and education.

            For more information contact Jeffrey Koh at or 312-845-1386.

Formed in 1986, the Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA) is the first local bar association for attorneys of Asian descent in the Chicagoland area. CABA continues to be a forum and resource for networking and learning, to organize and sponsor events of interest to its members and to provide public services to the local Chinese and Pan-Asian community.

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