Authored by Katrina Ehrnman-Newton

Image shows a view from above of a table with a panel of speakers and a seated audience. Watermarked with Center for Migration Studies logo.

Screenshot of the panel’s proceedings during this day of the conference.

This video is part of a three day proceedings from June 7-9, 2017 by several groups coming together to discuss their actions and emerging strategies to face the increasing hostility and illegal action being taken against immigrants and others under the emerging Trump presidency. The event was hosted by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), Cabrini Center for Immigrant Legal Assistance of Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston, the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, and the South Texas College of Law Houston (Center for Migrations Studies 2017). 

The event was moderated by Chris Rickerd, who then served as policy counsel in the National Political Advocacy Department, American Civil Liberties Union. The panel included Andrew Free, an attorney, Geoffrey Hoffman, a professor and director at the Immigration Clinic, University of Houston Law Center, and Esther Sung, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (Center for Migration Studies 2017). They discussed the emerging dangers from the travel ban aimed at some Muslim majority nations, and other changes that were emboldening law enforcement officers to ignore due process protections. The “Muslim ban” as it has been called, was enacted under two executive orders, EO 13769 and was later succeeded by EO 13780 (Wikipedia 2018). The different legislative efforts and the importance of Catholic charities support for these efforts in connecting people being impacted by these orders was discussed as an important model for how to proceed in the future. Of especial importance was the temporary halt to the order that came out of the lawsuit from Hawaii (Jarrett 2017). All of the efforts being discussed were grounded in community action including efforts by Catholic charities, and professional networks of attorneys going into efforts to reach out to individuals being detained, in some cases the interruptions to travel impacted individuals who were legally in the country, including students, asylum seekers, and permanent residents (Dehghan 2017). The ACLU was critical in helping to arrange resources that would be available to the many smaller organizations working directly to support individuals impacted by the executive orders, including chronicling the changing legal language and providing strategic information for attorneys online (The ACLU Washington, n.d.).

Perhaps most heartbreakingly, the first executive order barred any refugees from Syria from entering the country indefinitely. This action flies in the face of Catholic ethics and was widely decried in the United States (Bailey 2017). The Center for Migration Studies, along with their partners, embodied in this conference a vital response to injustice grounded in an ethic of justice, respect for the law, and importantly a special regard and care for the vulnerable.


Center for Migration Studies. 2017. “Mobilizing Coherent Community Responses to Changing Immigration Policies| See You in Court: How Responses to Federal Litigation Can Help Build Stronger and Inclusive Community”. Filmed June 8, 2017 at South Texas College of Law Houston.

Wikipedia. 2018. “Executive Order 13769”. Last edited March 18, 2018.

Jarrett, Laura. 2017. “Federal judge to hear first lawsuit against new travel ban”. CNN Politics. March 9, 2017,

Dehghan, Saed. 2017. “How Trump’s travel ban is affecting people around the world”. The Guardian, January 29, 2017.

The ACLU Washington. n.d. “Timeline of the Muslim Ban”. Accessed March 16, 2018.

Bailey, Sarah P. 2017. “Some of the U.S.’s most important Catholic leaders are condemning Trump’s travel ban”. The Washington Post: Acts of Faith. January 30, 2017.

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