Durbin, Schakowsky condemn Trump’s recent executive orders


Jeffrey Wang/Daily Senior Staffer

The crowd at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park cheers during a “know your right” event. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration and refugees were a “miscarriage of justice.”

Kristina Karisch, Assistant City Editor

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) condemned on Sunday President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and federal funding for sanctuary cities at an event in Chicago.

The event, held at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, was geared toward Syrian and Iraqi immigrants and refugees. The event was meant to inform refugees and green card holders about their rights and those of family members still abroad, and help them find legal representation.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order restricting travel for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. The order bars the entry of citizens people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia to the United States for 90 days — with an option of extending the timeframe with another motion. The order also blocks all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and prevents Syrian refugees from entering indefinitely.

“The executive orders issued by President Donald Trump have resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice in America,” Durbin said at the event.

Since the order was signed on Friday, there have been widespread protests at airports across the country, including in Chicago. On Saturday night, a federal judge in New York blocked a portion of the order, stopping the government from deporting some travelers who were already en route at the time of signing. Still, the status of many non-citizens remains unclear.

Durbin said he supported the federal judges who had blocked the order but that this was “only the beginning of the battle.” Other speakers also asserted their commitment to refugees and immigrants at the event, which a few hundred people attended.

“If you are an immigrant, if you are a refugee, you are home here in Rogers Park,” Chicago Ald. Joe Moore (49th), whose ward encompasses the neighborhood, said to open the event.

Moore reminded the crowd of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reaffirmation of Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city, despite another executive order signed by President Trump that would pull federal funding from sanctuary cities.

Schakowsky likened what was happening with the executive order to the United States turning away refugees during the Holocaust.

“That was a black mark on the United States of America,” Schakowsky said. “The saying that came out of the Holocaust is ‘never again.’ Well, now 500,000 Syrians have died. It it happening again. Shame on President Donald Trump!”

State politicians and representatives from local refugee and immigration organizations spoke about what those affected by the orders should do in the coming months.

Chicago resident Majid Chikmarki, who immigrated from Iraq two years ago, said he came to the event to fully understand his rights. Chikmarki successfully applied for a green card after moving to the United States. Still, he said he feels better being informed.

“I want to know my rights … to protect myself, to protect my family,” Chikmarki said. “You have this feeling that you are a second-class citizen, like someone suspects you, like you are a criminal or something. In my home country, I had the same feeling — the regime, Saddam (Hussein), they were looking for us. It’s a very bad, terrible feeling.”

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