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Updated Travel Advisory

Assalamu Alaikum, Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States allowed parts of President Trump’s Muslim Ban to take effect on a temporary basis, while blocking other parts of the Ban. The Supreme Court plans to make a final decision about the case later this year.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about how this development may impact you, your family, your education or your business in regard to the six targeted countries: Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Yemen.

1.The Potential Good News

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration MUST ALLOW foreign nationals from these countries to seek entry to the United States if they have a “credible claim” of a “bona fide” connection to the United States. What does that mean?

If you are legally present in the United Sates, you can seek to bring your “close” relatives who live overseas to the United States. If you run an American school or university, you can bring a foreign student to the United States. If you run an American business, you can bring a foreign worker to the United States.

2. The Potential Bad News

The Court has allowed the Trump Administration to BAN foreign nationals from the six targeted countries who have “no credible claim of a bona fide connection” to persons or entities in the United States. This part of the ruling leaves many questions unanswered.

For example, a legal resident of America can certainly expect to bring a spouse, parent or child to the United States. What about a brother, a cousin, or an aunt? What constitutes a legitimate and sufficiently close familial relationship?

The answer to this question would be determined on a case-by-case basis by immigration officials under the control of President Trump. If a family disagrees with a decision made by the Trump Administration, the family may have to pursue legal action against the government.

What about the travelers from the six countries who are scheduled to fly into the United States in the coming days and weeks? Immigration officials may detain or block those travelers while the Trump Administration reviews whether they do indeed have a legitimate and close connection to the United States.

As for refugees, the Supreme Court’s order effectively bans any future refugees who do not already have relatives living in the United States. The Supreme Court’s order also puts a question mark over refugees who are already in the process of coming to the United States.

3. What Should You Do Now?

  • If you are in the process of, or hope to, bring a family member, student, worker or refugee from one of the six targeted countries, consult with an immigration attorney or civil rights organization.
  • If a relative, student, worker or refugee is currently en route to the United States, immediately alert an immigration attorney or civil rights organization. Although the executive order may not take effect for another 72 hours, the Trump Administration may try to enforce it early.
  • If you are a citizen of the six targeted countries and you live in the United States as a permanent resident or a student or worker on a visa, you should, in theory, be able to travel in and out of the United States.

However, in practice, you may face delays or worse if you leave the country and attempt to return. We recommend you consult with an immigration attorney before leaving the United States. We also recommend that, if possible, you stay in the United States until the Supreme Court issues its final ruling, which may happen late this year or early next year.

4. What CAIR-Philadelphia And Other Organizations Plan To Do

Please know that the case is not over yet. CAIR and many other organizations plan to continue fighting the Muslim Ban in both the court of law and the court of public opinion. This is critical, for the Supreme Court has apparently missed the broader point.

If President Trump’s Muslim Ban was indeed motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry, then absolutely no part of it is acceptable for any amount of time.

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CAIR-Philadelphia Issues Travel Alert To Pennsylvania Muslims After Supreme Court Reinstates Parts of President Trump’s Muslim Ban

(PHILADELPHIA, PA – 6/27/2017) — The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today responded to the Supreme Court’s partial reinstatement of the Muslim Ban by issuing a travel alert to Pennsylvania Muslims, as well as local businesses and schools, with connections to citizens of the six targeted Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Jacob Bender, Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia, said: “As a civil rights organization, CAIR has great respect for the judicial system of the United States, and notes with approval that three lower courts suspended President Trump’s ‘Muslim Travel Ban’ and questioned its constitutionality. And without assigning any racial or religious animus to the SCOTUS judges themselves, we believe that the Supreme Court overlooked the broader atmosphere of anti-Muslim bigotry in the nation and the failed to consider, as did the lower courts, the President’s contribution to the current Islamophobic climate.”

CAIR-Philadelphia warned citizens of the six targeted countries who are present in Pennsylvania as lawful permanent residents, students, workers, or tourists to consult with an immigration attorney before traveling overseas.

CAIR-Philadelphia also informed families, schools and businesses that they can continue to sponsor foreign nationals from the six Muslim nations to travel to the United States in some circumstances. FOREIGN NATIONALS WHO WISH TO VISIT CLOSE RELATIVES INSIDE THE COUNTRY WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO BE ABLE TO OBTAIN VISITOR VISAS TO TRAVEL TO THE US.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender, 267-515-6711, jbender@cair.com

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CAIR-Philadelphia on the Front Lines

Interfaith Iftar Celebration at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr (06/06/2017)

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender was the keynote speaker at an Interfaith Iftar Celebration at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr, co-sponsored by Peace Island Institute.

Doylestown Meeting in Solidarity with the Muslim Community (06/10/2017)

Over 100 people gathered at Doylestown Presbyterian Church for a solidarity meeting with the Muslim community, called “Many Faiths, One Community: BuxMont Solidarity Gathering.” Speakers included Imam Numaan Cheemah of Zubaida Foundation, Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse, and Jacob Bender of CAIR-Philadelphia. The event was co-sponsored by Zubaida Foundation, Bucks County Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, and Rise Up Doylestown.

Jacob Bender at Doylestown Meeting in Solidarity with the Muslim Community

Interfaith Iftar Celebration at Masjidullah (06/11/2017)

Over 300 people participated in CAIR’s 4th Annual Interfaith Iftar, co-sponsored by — and taking place at — Masjidullah. Over half the participants were Jews and Christians (photo below). Speakers included Imams Mikal Shabazz and Muhammad Abdul-Aleem of Masjidullah, Rabbi Shawn Zevit of Mishkan Shalom Synagogue, Rev. Cheryl Pyrch of Summit Presbyterian Church, and Jacob Bender of CAIR. Read more…

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In U.S., are Muslims the new Jews?


by Stu Bykofsky
Philadelphia Daily News

Other immigrants, such as those from Germany, Italy, and Asia, often got the cold shoulder, too, but it was not as severe. The U.S. always has been a little bipolar on immigration — elated at the idea of a Land of Immigrants, but some of us not so keen when the new arrivals don’t look like us.

Muslims are the latest to arrive in numbers, and they carry the additional burden of being associated with terrorism. “Bad luck,” as with Japanese immigrants in California at the outbreak of World War II, observes Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. For Muslims, 9/11 created “a level of suspicion that was heretofore unknown to their community.” Bender happens to be Jewish. Read more…

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CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Murders of Muslims in Virginia and England

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 6/19/17) — The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) today condemned the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax, Virginia, and the carnage caused by a motorist running down Muslim worshippers in North London, England.

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender said: “No matter the motivation of the murderers in these two heinous crimes, these attacks come in the midst of an unprecedented anti-Muslim climate in the U.S. and Europe, spurred on by Islamophobic statements by irresponsible voices in the media and the American government.”

CAIR-Philadelphia calls upon the appropriate authorities to investigate these crimes and bring charges as soon as legally possible.

Our deepest condolences to the families of the dead and injured in both Virginia and England during this Sacred Month of Ramadan.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, 917-660-3805, jbender@cair.com

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