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SPLC assists travelers impacted by Muslim ban at Atlanta airport

The Southern Poverty Law Center is assisting travelers who may be impacted by President Trump's Muslim ban. Parts of the ban were scheduled to take effect this week at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The SPLC has joined a coalition of Georgia law firms and civil rights organizations that are encouraging family members of any wrongfully detained travelers at the world’s largest airport to contact them for assistance over the weekend.

"As attorneys sworn to uphold the Constitution, we feel a special obligation to help protect the rights of the families and travelers harmed by the travel ban, especially here in Atlanta," said Gillian Gillers, staff attorney at the SPLC. "We call on the Trump administration to withdraw these guidelines, as well as the entire Muslim ban. In the meantime, Georgia attorneys stand ready to assist those impacted by the executive order."

On June 26, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to reinstate parts of the Muslim ban while the court considers whether the executive order is constitutional. The ruling authorized immigration officials to stop issuing new visas to foreign nationals who lack a credible claim of a "bona fide" relationship with individuals or entities in the United States. Under the court’s ruling, a “bona fide” relationship with an individual requires a “close familial relationship.”

According to a Department of State cable issued on June 28, the Trump administration plans to treat only the following relationships as sufficiently “close” to support issuance of a visa: spouses, siblings, parents, children, adult sons or daughters, and sons- or daughters-in-law. The administration’s definition of close family relationship specifically excludes grandparents, cousins, fiancés and certain other relatives.

"The fact that President Trump wants to ban many American Muslims from welcoming their grandparents to the United States is the latest sign that this executive order has little to do with national security and everything to do with anti-Muslim bigotry," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR Georgia, one of the civil rights groups that has joined the SPLC in assisting travelers who may be affected by the ban. "Grandparents hardly pose a threat to the homeland."

Participating firms and civil rights groups, in addition to the SPLC, include:

  • ACLU of Georgia
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Georgia-Alabama Chapter
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Atlanta)
  • Council on American Islamic-Relations (Georgia)
  • Effron Sharma Immigration, LLC
  • Law Office of Asiyah Sharifi
  • Owings Immigration Law
  • Southern Center for Human Rights

If you or someone you know has been detained at the Atlanta airport, please call the SPLC at 1-800-591-3656 (toll free) or 334-296-0737. You can also email us at