Muslim Advocates Responds to CBP Directive to Ignore Attorneys of Detained Travelers in Aftermath of Muslim Ban

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reported that during the implementation of the first Muslim ban executive order, Customs and Border Protection officials forbade their agents from talking to members of Congress and to responding to requests from lawyers representing detained travelers. Sirine Shebaya, now a senior staff attorney at Muslim Advocates, was working with detainees at Dulles International Airport on the day the ban was implemented as part of the Dulles Justice Coalition. The following is a reaction from Shebaya to the new report:

“CBP’s blanket directive to ignore valid requests from Members of Congress and attorneys representing detainees is terrifyingly reckless.

This stonewalling was exactly what we experienced that night when we were trying to make sense of this situation for the countless innocent people who were being detained. We were hindered at every turn and the administration was slow-walking the implementation of court orders. This formal confirmation shows that this wasn’t just incompetence in carrying out the executive order; this was chaos by design.  

As evidence mounts that the administration purposefully circumvented the rule of law and the court of public opinion to implement a racially charged, religiously discriminatory ban, we hope the Supreme Court will rule on the right side of history when it hears two cases on the Muslim ban this fall.

Until then, we will remain fervently committed to protecting the rights of all to live free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.”

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.