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Michigan Attorney Describes Immigration Battle In Wake Of Presidential Order

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Attorneys in Michigan and elsewhere are still trying to get information about and access to people detained at ports of entry. 

That’s after Friday’s immigration order signed by President Trump. The order bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. and suspending the entry of refugees.  Michigan has a large population of residents from Iraq, Yemen, and other countries targeted in the order. 

Susan Reed is the managing attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. She said the immigration order is a blend of unconstitutional actions and things the president is allowed to do.  

“To be honest, I’m really still digesting and looking to constitutional law experts myself to more deeply understand that and there’s a lot of learning and conversation that we have to have,” she said. 

Lawyers in several states filed lawsuits, some resulting in federal judges blocking parts of the executive order.  Reed said they haven’t filed any lawsuits yet, but, “Our participation in a challenge is certainly a possibility.  We are truly just trying to field emergencies and communicate with folks as things are happening.”  

In the meantime, Reed said their organization has been overwhelmed with questions in the days after the order was first signed. 

“I spent much of Saturday trying to develop legal education materials, warnings to people not to leave who might be innocently departing the US,” she said. 

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the order saying it is, “about the safety of America.”  President Donald Trump defended the order in a Tweet that read, “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country.” 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at

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