On the campaign trail, Donald Trump was unambiguous in calling for “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Scapegoating American Muslims for any number of the country’s troubles became a central part of Trump’s campaign message.
The president clearly holds abhorrent views toward the adherents of one of the world’s largest and oldest religions — there are 1.3 billion — and he sought to implement religious discrimination as public policy soon after his election.
When the Trump administration first announced an executive order barring citizens and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, possibly including U.S. green card holders, we took him to court. And we won. Trump’s Muslim ban was struck down right away by the judicial branch because it was a blatant attempt to discriminate against people based on their religion, in violation of the First Amendment.
The administration went back to the drawing board, but instead of coming up with a policy that would actually make the nation more secure, it took another swing at our neighbors by rolling out Muslim Ban 2.0 — a few minor tweaks that left in place the core pillars and intent of the policy.
The only way to fix the Muslim ban is to not have a Muslim ban. It serves no national-security purpose, even according to Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security. It incites hatred and drives recruitment for some of the world’s most heinous terrorist organizations. But if the Trump administration chooses to ignore all that, and instead to double down on unconstitutional religious discrimination, it should expect to lose big — again.
For our part, the ACLU continue to fight the ban — in court, certainly, but also by building a grassroots army to show up in the streets.
If, like us, you were angered by what you are seeing coming out of the White House, there are things you can do that will make a big difference. This week, we are launching a new People Power movement, a mass-engagement effort to mobilize, unite and amplify the groundswell of Americans who are alarmed by Trump’s divisive policies. We will give people the tools to stand up against them.
PeoplePower.org will be a one-stop hub for everyone looking to influence the national debate. On March 11, the ACLU will hold a “Resistance Training” town hall at the University of Miami’s Watsco Center to kick things off. We urge you to RSVP and attend the event this Saturday, or find a local watch party to follow along via live stream, to hear from ACLU’s top experts what comes next.
Around ACLU offices across America, we keep hearing people say they’ve never seen the sort of grassroots energy and engagement pouring out of every corner of the country these days. From the Women’s March to the airport protests and everything in between, people are angry and ready to fight back.
Let’s focus that energy and channel it toward things that can make a difference in the long term, and push back against Trump’s dangerous agenda.
Faiz Shakir is the ACLU national political director. Howard L. Simon is executive director of the ACLU of Florida.