Lawyers head to Cana­dian air­ports, U.S. le­gal bat­tle con­tin­ues //

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NI­COLE THOMP­SON

A net­work of Cana­dian lawyers is vol­un­teer­ing at air­ports across the coun­try to help peo­ple who could be af­fected by a U.S. travel ban nav­i­gate the shift­ing land­scape.

A fed­eral judge in Seat­tle froze the ban, which af­fects peo­ple from seven Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity coun­tries, on Fri­day. The ini­tial ex­ec­u­tive or­der signed by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Jan. 27 barred all trav­ellers orig­i­nally from the tar­geted coun­tries, in­clud­ing visa and green card hold­ers. And while the “tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der” is­sued by Judge James L. Ro­bart Fri­day has tem­po­rar­ily less­ened the lawyers’ work­load, Corey Shef­man of Toronto said the hun­dreds of lawyers who have signed up to vol­un­teer are wait­ing at the ready for fur­ther de­vel­op­ments.

“One of the most se­ri­ous con­cerns over the last week is that no­body re­ally knows what the heck is go­ing on. Is this court or­der en­forced?’ Is that court or­der en­forced? Are none of the court or­ders en­forced?” he said.

“So trav­ellers who are from the af­fected coun­tries — and some of them who hon­estly aren’t from the af­fected coun­tries — are look­ing for an­swers. So one of the roles that our lawyer vol­un­teers play is to help pro­vide those an­swers.”

They stand by the U.S. de­par­tures, hold­ing signs of­fer­ing free le­gal help, he said. And they’re be­ing kept up-to-date “minute by minute” so they al­ways have the lat­est le­gal in­for­ma­tion.

“The other ser­vice we’re pro­vid­ing is to make it clear to peo­ple at the air­port that there is help,” he said. “I think we’ve also helped to cre­ate a safe space at the air­port for trav­ellers.”

Shef­man said the Cana­dian lawyers started vol­un­teer­ing in re­sponse to a call from the In­ter­na­tional Refugee As­sis­tance Project in New York.

“We’ve been won­der­fully over­whelmed with the out­pour­ing of sup­port,” said El­iz­a­beth Foy­del, pol­icy coun­sel for IRAP. She said Cana­dian lawyers have been a great help to her or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Shef­man said they’re still look­ing for more vol­un­teers, as the le­gal­ity sur­round­ing the ban is con­stantly in mo­tion and they could need more help in the com­ing weeks. Early Sun­day, the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in San Francisco de­nied the Amer­i­can Jus­tice Depart­ment’s re­quest for an im­me­di­ate re­in­state­ment of the ban. The court asked chal­lengers of the ban re­spond to the ap­peal, and for the Jus­tice Depart­ment to file a counter-re­sponse by Mon­day af­ter­noon.

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