KARAMAH Director of Civil Rights and Policy, Qasim Rashid, spoke at The George Washington University on Thursday, February 2nd at a panel entitled Rights in 2017: Immigrants, Individuals, and the Law. Professor Alberto Benitez, the director of the GW immigration law clinic, and Chris Carr, a third-year law student in the clinic spoke primarily on the legal side of things and then took questions. On Wednesday, February 8th, Mr. Rashid spoke at UDC law at a similar teach in on the recent executive order on refugees and travel.
During both presentations, Mr. Rashid spoke of KARAMAH’s work on the recent immigration ban. KARAMAH is researching the issue in depth and intends to publish a white paper and eventually an amicus brief on the issue which will explore a few key issues: the constitutionality of the issue, the historical legacy of the issue and how other similar programs have lead to the compromise in various groups’ civil rights and civil liberties, and most importantly, the disparate impact that this ban has on women and children.
At both fora, Mr. Rashid discussed tips for organizing and social justice activism in the face of fear. He reminded attendees that this sort of divisive rhetoric is not new, but in fact is something that KARAMAH and other organizations have been seeing and dealing with for years. Mr. Rashid also spent a great deal of time reminding the law students of our nation’s legal history. What we are seeing now, he said, is not new. He likened the current situation to Japanese internment, which was the result of an executive order by President Roosevelt. Similarly, Mr. Rashid also reminded law students that NSEERS, following 9/11, began as an immigration ban and evolved into a registration program for Muslim men already living in the United States.
Additionally, Mr. Rashid recommend that law students stay informed about the news and especially avoid spreading fake news as this undermines the work being done to spread the truth. Finally, be civically engaged, know who is running in the 2018 elections and work to promote justice throughout the legislative process.
Above all, Mr. Rashid reminded attendees to be fearless in their activism and not to become fatigued by the constant struggle. As always, KARAMAH remains an advocate in this space for those who are facing increased persecution.
For more information, or with any questions about this constantly evolving issue, please email KARAMAH at firstname.lastname@example.org