Japanese Americans in front of poster with incarceration orders. • Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior

The five Washington Asian Pacific American Bar Associations—the Asian Bar Association of Washington, the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Washington, the Filipino Lawyers of Washington, and the Korean American Bar Association—condemn recent Executive Orders excluding refugees and immigrants from now six predominantly Muslim countries.

To support front-line civil rights and immigrant-rights work, the associations

We know all too well how many immigrant communities have been subject to prejudice and fear that has resulted in exclusion and discriminatory law enforcement—prejudice based on their race and national origin and fear that they pose a threat to this country’s security or well-being. Chinese and Japanese immigrants, feared as yellow hordes, were barred from further immigration soon after they began to arrive in this country. Discriminatory laws and practices barred our immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents from citizenship, from land ownership, from intermarrying with whites, and from participation and equal dignity in American society. Seventy-five years ago, as the result of another Executive Order, over 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, both immigrants and American citizens, were forced into concentration camps during WWII because of fear that they posed a threat to national security. Many within our communities still experience being “forever foreign”—not being seen or accepted as truly American because of the color of their skin.

As members of communities who have been viewed as foreign and dangerous, we denounce the recent Executive Order as based on the unfounded belief that Muslims are prone to terrorism. As the descendants of families who have fled war and hardship, we denounce any plan under which this country would turn its back on refugees. As lawyers, we stand against executive action that denies any individual due process and equal protection based on their race, religion, or national origin.

Andrea Chin, President, ABAW
John Fetters, President, FLOW
Crystal Nam, President, KABA
Radhika Prabhakar, President, SABAW
Linda Tran, President, VABAW

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