A coalition called “Take Action Philly” is rallying the city’s legal community to combat the Trump administration’s agenda on immigration and refugees.
More than 200 people turned out for the first meeting Friday afternoon at the Loews Hotel in Center City.
“Lawyers truly are the foot soldiers of democracy,” said Joey Assali, an Allentown resident whose Syrian family members were barred from entering the country when they first arrived in the U.S. last month.
“Even while we were still waiting on the status of my family, the unconditional support of our attorneys gave us hope that — even if we could not bring them back right away — we would never stop fighting until justice prevailed,” he said.
This was the theme of Take Action Philly’s first meeting — that the “resistance” movement to the Trump administration’s agenda will rely heavily on lawyers.
“Ever since the election, the legal community has overwhelmingly come out asking anywhere from my office … to a lot of the legal nonprofit organizations to the law department, ‘How can we help, what can we do?'” said Miriam Enriquez, who heads up Philadelphia’s office of immigrant affairs.
She said the coalition plans a series of free legal clinics in May where immigrants can take steps to become citizens and refugees can get help adjusting their statuses by applying for green cards. Training for those clinics will begin in March.
As for non-lawyers, the coalition is encouraging them to help out these efforts with their wallets.