Recent President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders were the matter of a joint statement made by a number of Lawyers and Bar Associations of New Jersey. We interviewed the President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, Arlene Quinones-Perez to expand comments on this resolution.
“The Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New
Jersey, the Garden State Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey denounce President Trump’s EO authorizing federal funding for building a wall on the south border, withholding of federal funds for sanctuary cities that fail to comply with the execution of federal immigration laws, blocking the entry of refugees and suspending the entry of individuals from Arab countries.
“… We join the grassroots social movement to defend the civil rights and uphold the Constitution, and we will continue to mobilize our members to get involved at all levels. We again applaud the action of elected officials who, following principles instead of politics, are speaking out against these injustices, and call upon elected officials at the federal, State and local levels to take action against these unconstitutional and bias-driven attacks on our communities. Something is wrong, and we need to speak up.
Arlene Quinones-Perez, President of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBANJ), informed LatinasinBusiness.us that several similar statements were released by the organization she represents.
“We kept an email chain among several organizations in New Jersey because we were concerned by the legal implications President Trump’s immigration Executive Orders would have on our system and the population. As attorneys, we believe this is a direct attack not only on immigration and immigrants but on the Judiciary as well,” she said.
According to ABC News, President Trump’s immigration comments about the U.S. district court’s order blocking the president’s executive action and an appeals court upholding that ruling were not only inappropriate but also inaccurate.
Trump’s tweets mentioned a “court breakdown” as responsible for a surge in people coming from the seven countries: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. However, he never mentioned that those halted by his orders were either permanent American residents with green cards or have gone through an already-extensive vetting process.
“We need to raise our voices to let everybody know that this language and this environment caused by President Trump’s comments are unacceptable,” Quinones-Perez said.
She also remembered Trump’s disqualifying comments on United States District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel during the campaign, as a “Mexican” who couldn’t be objective in his judgment of Trump University fraudulent maneuvers.
Deportation and raids are not new for immigrants
“Raids and deportations were conducted in previous Administrations; however, President Trump’s immigration measures have made the issue one of great visibility, creating fear and uncertainty in the population in New Jersey and around the country,” Quinones-Perez said.
This aggressive environment has created harsh situations for immigrant children in schools, adults in the workplace, neighborhoods and other places were they go to work, worship, receive education or healthcare, and other activities.
Some even have been attacked or profiled by police just because of the way they look. Stories about children being bullied in schools by other students and even teachers have been circulating around the country.
How this situation affects us all, immigrants or not
“As a descendant of a Puerto Rican family, I feel this language affects me personally and my family. We are citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a status that recognizes our citizenship since birth. But what if this President decides to make the Island an independent state?” she reflected.
Luckily, Quinones-Perez also reminds us that the American system of checks and balances set up by the US Constitution ensures that no one branch of government would become too powerful.
Where immigrants and their families can find information
The HBANJ has been partnering with organizations and working with several cities around the state –such as Trenton and Perth Amboy– to set up educational workshops about immigration issues. They can also provide additional information to the public by contacting their offices.
“Another excellent source of information is the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where qualified lawyers and professionals can be found for specific cases of deportation or other procedures,” Quinones-Perez informed and she concluded, “This situation is not going to go away too soon or easily. That is why we need to keep raising our voices.”