by Monette Rivera, ABS-CBN News
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s executive order which bans citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations has become an issue within the Filipino American community — especially since Trump has mentioned the Philippines as a concern, during his election campaign.
“I think it’s clear at this point that it’s highly unlikely that the travel ban will be expanded to include the Philippines,” said Fil-Am Atty. Rio Guerrero. “In all likelihood, they would probably wait to see how this all plays out before the court system and probably the Supreme Court, before they were to issue any new travel ban, or to try to expand the existing one obviously.”
The National Filipino American Lawyers Association, or NFALA, a three year old organization with about 700 lawyer members across the United States, calls for united opposition to the president’s executive order — which they say promotes hostility toward immigrants and refugees.
The organization has mobilized efforts to support the needs of affected individuals.
“We don’t want any group to be singled out. This is a country where we’ve always welcomed immigrants,” said Atty. Jhanice Domingo, President of NFALA. “We’re asking attorneys and people in the US to do is to speak up and oppose this travel ban. We’re asking immigration attorneys to help out.”
Its local affiliate, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York, has been volunteering at different airports, disseminating information on their availability to those who may be affected by the travel ban.
“Because we come from immigrants, this has really hit home. It hit a certain nerve that made us realize how vulnerable we are,” said FALA NY President Connie Montoya.
“As a Filipino American, I believe that we cannot take a step back and think that these presidential orders do not affect who we are and how we live,” she said.
Lawyers urge the community to continue to be vigilant not only on the issue of immigration, but on all issues concerned.
They assure the community that they will advocate for the rights of each citizen.
“Lawyers will defend our country. We will defend the freedoms and the liberties of the people here in the United States, both the documented and the undocumented, fighting for the rights of individuals, and their families,” said Guerrero.