Donald Trump issued an executive order on January 27, 2017, trying to make good on his campaign promise of a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US.”
There were many people against the travel ban, many of the airports in the United States becoming areas of protest. A small group of young lawyers who worked for nonprofit organizations joined those in opposition. Some termed them “Dumbledore’s Army” based on J.K. Rowling’s fifth novel in the Harry Potter series.
Mike Wishnie, a Yale Law School professor who leads a student-staffed immigration clinic, was the Dumbledore (headmaster at J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts) of the group.
When the first ban was issued, Wishnie was at a basketball game. He, among many, was stunned by the travel ban which called for banning entry of all refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries. Wishnie began receiving phone calls from former students.
Calls came from Justin Cox, who works for the National Immigration Law Center, and Becca Heller, who founded the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) in New York City. Some of IRAP’s clients had been on flights when the travel ban was issued.
Hammed Darweesh, an Iraqi national, was one of IRAP’s clients that was being held by immigration authorities. Darweesh had previously worked with the United States army.
A Brooklyn judge struck the ban down later that night, Dumbledore’s Army helping to free Darweesh and many other detained people. Cox and Wishnie are now helping to challenge Trump’s decision to remove DACA.
IRAP and Muslim Advocates (another organization containing one of Wishnie’s previous students) were able to get Trump’s newest travel ban struck down in a Maryland court. The case is expected to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Heller believes that Trump seeks to go after immigration through various executive orders because other parts of his agenda are failing in Congress and so he appeals to his base by attacking immigration.
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