US-bound Travelers From Philippines Urged To Have Lawyer Contacts

An immigration lawyer has urged all travelers, including Filipinos, bound for the United States to be prepared in their journey in case US President Donald J. Trump decides to expand coverage of his executive order banning citizens from certain countries from entering US territory.

Last week, Trump signed executive orders that put a travel ban on those traveling to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, and banning refugees from entering the US for 120 days.

Under the order, entry of Syrian refugees into the United States is suspended indefinitely.

Immigration lawyer Robert Uy noted the President is fulfilling a campaign promise to ban Muslims. Uy also pointed out that also on the campaign trail, Trump cited the Philippines as a country of origin of a suspected terrorist who was arrested in California.

“[A] legal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted for planning to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible,” Trump said during a campaign rally in August.

Uy likewise advised travelers that their families must be well-informed of their journey.

“They need to have contact information for an attorney, or contact information of the pro-bono attorneys working at the airports, if they can. The attorney that they should have the contact information of, should be an immigration attorney who has done habeas corpus petitions before — in order to ensure a release,” Uy added.

Uy also said it is critical not to sign anything if detained.

“What they’ve been doing is forcing people to sign I-407 forms,” he said. “They’re basically forms that make you give up your green card.”

Uy joined other critics of the President’s executive orders in calling them “unconstitutional,” citing how Mr. Trump violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, the First Amendment which includes freedom of religion, and the 1965 Immigration Nationality Act — which says you cannot discriminate based on national origin.