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Concerning immigration, hope remains in the rule of law

This is a tough time for immigrants in Kentucky. One big reason for this is the confusion that has reigned since the president signed his executive order suddenly restricting movements of individuals from seven Muslim countries. The order doesn't specifically speak to possible efforts to deport individuals already in the U.S., but it would be naïve to suggest that there's no reason for them to be concerned.

Still, one thing that should provide some measure of hope is that the rights of people in Kentucky and the rest of the country are protected under the rule of law. What is clear from the reaction to the president's order is that people are turning to the courts for relief against treatment that they believe to be unjust, and they are winning.

For example, there is the story of an Iranian man who arrived in Los Angeles under a legitimate visa and with approval for a green card, only to be back to his homeland under the aegis of the new executive order. Thanks to the efforts of a number of skilled immigration attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union, a federal judge ruled his removal unconstitutional. In the matter of less than a week, the man had travelled back and forth, but he is now in the U.S. with loved ones.

Some states and cities are pushing back against the new administration's efforts, as well. As of yesterday, a number of lawsuits are pending in federal courts across the country. Here in Louisville, the local newspaper is conducting an unscientific survey to gauge support for the idea of the city becoming a so-called "sanctuary city." At the time this is written, the ayes outnumber the nays by a significant margin. Whether that will lead to action is unknown, but the message is clear.

The point is that while concern over the federal order is worth being concerned about, options existing under the law give hope. Those who are worried should consult an attorney to be sure they understand their rights.

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