City Council passed a resolution Tuesday taking a stand against the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban.
Trump issued his first executive order in January, forbidding citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, stopping resettlement of refugees for 120 days and indefinitely suspending resettlement of Syrian refugees. The ban, which came into effect immediately after its announcement, resulted in disorder and fierce protests at airports across the country.
The local resolution specifically authorized listing Ann Arbor as a supporting municipality in an amicus brief to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court from the State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh v. Donald J. Trump, et al., which will determine the constitutionality of the president’s executive order.
Councilmember Jack Eaton (D–Ward 4) praised the resolution, as it will allow Ann Arbor to take a stand against the travel ban at no cost. He noted Ann Arbor’s unique position as a college town and the city’s tradition of welcoming talented individuals from all over the world.
“We want our residents … to feel comfortable to come in from anywhere in the world,” Eaton said. “Having a threat such as this travel ban really does significant harm to our town.”
Following two federal court decisions that blocked the ban, the Trump administration released a second version of the order that eliminated its most controversial parts. For example, provisions in the initial executive order like giving preference to religious minorities (widely interpreted to mean Christians) once the resettlement program resumed gave reason for critics to call the order a “Muslim ban.”
The order was blocked by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland, though the Supreme Court allowed certain provisions to go into effect until they meet to discuss the case in October. Trump has expressed frustration many times over repeated halts of the ban, lashing out at judges and activists who were against his administration’s policy.
“In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe,” Trump tweeted in June. “The courts are slow and political!”
Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (D–Ward 5) concurred with Eaton, arguing the travel ban will affect the city’s economic health negatively, as it will impede students and immigrants from coming to study and work in the city.
“We are a community that depends on the strong international community from many countries, whether they be students, researchers, family members,” Warpehoski said. “The travel ban, I believe, is very detrimental policy to the economic health and community vibrancy of Ann Arbor.”
Councilmember Julie Grand (D–Ward 3) noted how the resolution’s passage coincided with the Trump administration’s announcement to suspend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and emphasized the importance of continuing to fight policies that affect the most vulnerable.
“It takes a lot of bravery to uproot yourself and come all the way around the world for your education,” Grand said. “On days like today, especially in light of the very disappointing news from the White House about DACA, I think it’s all the more important that we sign on.”
LSA senior Hafsa Tout, vice president external of the Muslim Students’ Association, said she appreciates the compassion the Ann Arbor community showed for the Muslim community and is watching the Supreme Court case closely.
“Regardless of what we’ll see happen with this lawsuit in court, or the implications of the travel ban more broadly, I think it’ll be very reassuring for the University’s Muslim student community that our city council has voted to enter the case against the executive order,” Tout wrote in an email. “I grew up in Ann Arbor and it’s one thing to know that the city council representing the compassionate and supportive community of Ann Arbor would undoubtedly oppose this unconstitutional order, but it’s another entirely to watch it become an integral part of what’s shaping up to be a landmark case in American history.”