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Mat dos Santos, legal director for ACLU of Oregon, speaks at a Feb. 1 press conference with Manije Mehrnoosh, Unite Oregon board co-chair and Muwafaq Alkattan, Unite Oregon staff member and Iraqi refugee.
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 09 February 2017

Tuesday afternoon the Ninth Circuit Court heard arguments on whether it will restore President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning travel to and from seven predominantly-Muslim nations.

That hearing was the result of the states of Washington and Minnesota’s legal brief arguing against the Trump administration’s appeal (which was later joined by attorneys general from multiple states, including Oregon). The executive order has been the subject of numerous other legal complaints, including a lawsuit brought last week by immigrants’ rights groups in Oregon.

The 9th Circuit Court has said it will issue a decision on the executive order as soon as possible. It’s not clear whether the court will overturn the ban entirely, or merely overturn parts of it.

Given the speed with which the new presidential administration has moved to restrict travel, the speed of change in reaction to the ban – and the large number of travelers and legal residents the executive order has already affected – The Skanner News reached out to local organizations that advocate for and work with immigrant and refugee populations to compile a list of resources concerned parties should consult.

Here’s what we found.

Legal Resources:

  • The ACLU has created a hotline for people arriving at Portland International Airport, especially travelers from the seven banned countries, to provide legal referrals and advice. Concerned travelers can contact (971) 412-2258 or email [email protected].
  • The American Immigration and Lawyers Association  also has a hotline for those concerned about their immigration status: (971) 412-2258.
  • Unite Oregon has a list of attorneys and can provide referrals.

Reporting Hate Crimes:

  • The Immigrant Refugee Community Organization recommends reporting hate crimes and bigoted harassment to the Portland Police Bureau – 911 for emergencies  or (503) 823-3333. (The Portland Police Bureau, at a press conference with community partners from several multicultural and religious organizations, said it has never enforced federal immigration law, and has been forbidden from doing so by state law. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has expressed similar sentiments.
  • Hate crimes can also be reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate crimes database.

Getting Involved:

IRCO has also published an action guide for those who may not be affected by immigration changes directly, but still want to take action on behalf of marginalized groups. In addition to donating to and volunteering for supportive organizations, and joining rallies and community events that support immigrant and refugee communities, the group recommends:

  • Hiring refugees. Small businesses and human resource directors can join the We Hire Refugees Initiative and learn best practices on hiring refugees at http://wehirerefugees.org.
  • Advocate. IRCO recommends calling local, state and national elected leaders to voice support for refugee resettlement. Concerned citizens can call 1-866-940-2439 to be connected directly with local representatives and given a short  script to talk about refugee resettlement.
  • Educate others. Those who want to advocate for immigrants and refugees can educate themselves on how the process currently works, and talk to friends and family who may have misconceptions about the vetting process. IRCO offers this guide as a starting point for conversation.

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