The ACLU Hawaiʻi issued a joint statement today opposing the executive orders on immigration signed by President Trump.
The letter, signed by a broad coalition of Hawaiʻi-based organizations on the steps of the Federal Building in Honolulu, states, “There is no place in Hawaiʻi and our nation” for what they called, “racist, discriminatory and ill-advised national policies.”
The letter states: “These orders, that (1) halt refugee admissions from all countries for at least 120 days, (2) indefinitely halt the admission of Syrian refugees, (3) lower the number of refugee admissions to the United States, (4) directs Department of Homeland Security to determine the extent to which state and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and (5) suspend all entry of individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries are based on the misguided idea that certain religious and ethnic populations are more prone to violence and are incompatible with American values.”
The coalition called the executive orders “un-American and mean spirited.”
The group warned against a repeat of history and referenced the 1942 executive order during World War II that resulted in the unlawful internment of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.
“This is not the first time we have seen national security used as the basis to discriminate against ethnic minorities,” the letter read. “Like Executive Order 9066, these orders will not make our communities safer or our nation stronger, and in fact undermine our standing in the world community as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.”
The coalition stated that Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities were also viewed with suspicion and hate, and subjected to violence in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
“Our rights and liberties as Americans are not made stronger by excluding others. Rather, the strength of our local communities and our nation is based on embracing people from all over the world. We are a state and a nation of immigrants that should honor our native peoples as well as those who seek refuge here,” the letter stated.
Members of the coalition said refugees, like other immigrants, enrich our communities and contribute significantly to American society. “We oppose efforts to reduce the number of refugees entering the United States and recognize the hope that the United States represents to those in humanitarian crises.”
The coalition vowed to oppose further policies that rely on exclusion based on religion and ethnicity. “Our multi-cultural, multi-racial community in Hawaiʻi is a testament to the fact that we are stronger together as inclusive, diverse, respectful, peaceful communities and we call upon other organizations, communities, and individuals to stand together with us, demonstrating our spiritual values of compassion, respect, kindness, and aloha.”
Among the groups signing off on the letter were the: African American Lawyers Association of Hawaiʻi; American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaiʻi; American Immigration Lawyers Association, Hawaiʻi Chapter; Amnesty International, Hawaiʻi Chapter; Filipino American Advocacy Network; Filipino American Citizens League; First Unitarian Church of Honolulu; Harris United Methodist Church; Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant rights; Hawaiʻi State Commission on the Status of Women; Hawaiʻi Filipino Lawyers Association; Hawaiʻi Forgiveness Project; Hawaiʻi Friends of Civil Rights; Hawaiʻi J20; Hawaiʻi Women Lawyers; Honolulu Hawaiʻi NAACP; Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter; Muslim Association of Hawaiʻi; National Asian pacific American Bar Association, Hawaiʻi Chapter, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, Region 12; Pacific Gateway Center; The Interfaith Alliance Hawaiʻi; United Nations Association Hawaiʻi Chapter; and Young Progressives Demanding Action.