Amidst the chaos created by President Trump's executive-order immigration ban last weekend, several Outten & Golden LLP attorneys volunteered at airports around the country to assist affected foreign travelers and their families.
Juno Turner, a partner in Outten & Golden's New York office, joined other lawyers at Terminal 4 of JFK Airport in New York late Saturday night and again on Sunday. Gail Lin, a firm associate in Los Angeles, heard news reports of the ban and rushed to the LAX Bradley International Terminal on Sunday afternoon. Both Ms. Turner and Ms. Lin are immigrants and naturalized citizens of the United States.
Dozens of travelers from the seven majority-Muslim nations covered by the ban were detained at the airports despite having valid visas and green cards, according to news reports and first-hand accounts. Thousands peacefully protested the immigration ban at airports throughout the nation.
Ms. Turner said, "It's hard to believe that legal immigrants, including refugees fleeing violence and oppression, could have their legal status taken away with the stroke of a pen. This is an urgent civil rights issue but, as an immigrant myself, it's also a personal one. I had to help in whatever small way I could."
Ms. Lin, who emigrated from Taiwan, said, "The implementation of the ban and the detentions seemed unnecessarily cruel, but I was so impressed with the response of everyone working to help the travelers. We were set up outside the customs exit. Translators volunteered. Lawyers did. Other people brought food for the volunteers. The troubling part was the response of federal officials at the airport, who refused to provide any information regarding the number of people being detained, or even their identities. This order was rolled out in such a chaotic way that even those in charge apparently didn't know what they were doing."
Wayne N. Outten, founder and managing partner of Outten & Golden, said, "This ill-advised immigration ban has destabilized the affected families, of course, but also workplaces throughout the nation – from corporations and small businesses to universities. We expect this ban to be among many evolving legal controversies involving immigration issues."
The volunteer efforts of Ms. Turner, Ms. Lin, and other Outten & Golden attorneys followed participation by firm lawyers, staff and family members in the Women's March, which included an estimated five million people worldwide, including one million in Washington, on Jan. 21. Then, on Jan. 30, the firm and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed a lawsuit alleging that Wells Fargo & Co. illegally denied qualified applicants, including a college student, loans because of their immigration status.
Mr. Outten added, "This has been a momentous week or so for our firm. I'm proud to see our lawyers and their families and friends taking personal stands on important issues and exercising their rights as they also work to help protect the rights of others."
Contact: Wayne N. Outten, Outten & Golden LLP, 212.245.1000, @email
SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP