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PoliticsI am a criminal defense and immigration attorney and started the first muslim women's political action committee. Ask me anything about the travel ban, DACA, criminal justice reform, and shoes.

Sep 25th 2017 by Mirriam71 • 5 Questions • 51 Points

Criminal defense and immigration attorney. Lawyer with Dulles Justice (airport lawyers), founder of American Muslim Women Political Action Committee.

https://twitter.com/mirriam71/status/912362369061441536

Q:

Sorry for asking a second question...

I'm seeing reports that the new travel ban can apply to individuals currently working in the United States. That is, if their visa expires, they will have to leave the United States. Do you know if that's true?

I am worried because I have a friend who is from Iran, and I believe he only has a visa. I don't think he has a green card. He previously came here as a student, wanting to leave Iran, then started working here. He's been here for over a decade. I don't know why he doesn't have a green card--I think he just wasn't able to get one. If his visa is set to expire, does that mean he may be forced to go back to Iran?

I'm a bit worried for him. He's a hard working American who came here legally, and it makes me very upset that Trump would create a ban so broadly that it would impact people already living here peacefully and without any issues.

A:

That is what this order says, the visas will not be renewed. In my previous answer I said that we are in for a rude awakening when that time comes. People don't realize the extent to which this country relies on foreign workers. It also proves it is not about safety. These people are already here. They've been vetted. Why are we making them leave?


Q:

Mike Cernovich retweeted this AMA. Do you know him and how do you know him?

A:

I know Mike very well. I went to his wedding and spend time with him when I am on the left coast and I try to see him when he is here as well. He and I went to the RNC and DNC together and I was at his wedding. I adore his wife and he has the cutest baby girl. I've known Mike since he started Crime and Federalism which was a blog ahead of its time. He wrote about the militarization of the police, about due process concerns in the criminal justice system and a lot of other issues that no one is talking about. I have him blocked on twitter right now and it's been a rough go because of this election, obviously. We aren't on the same page on a lot of things, but he is a guy I can tell that to. I can tell him Mike, I don't like this, I don't like what you are doing and he listens to me. It's not the easiest friendship because of what his public persona is. But he's someone I hope to know for a long time.


Q:

I read the following article this morning...

Defense lawyers are already arguing that FGM is a religious practice among the Dawoodis, and therefore protected by the First Amendment. They say the Dawoodi believe that if they do not engage in this (FGM) then they are not actively practicing their religion. They also assert that the doctor didn’t “cut” the girls, but merely nicked them. - CNSNews

What is your opinion on FGM?

A:

It's a barbaric practice rooted in misogyny and has no root in Islam at all anywhere. Anyone who says so is a liar. There is not a single reason for it and we should denounce it loudly at every chance we get. So we do. It needs to end.


Q:

Hi Mirriam! Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA.

First of all, and most importantly, how do you feel about onions? Related, what is your favorite pastry?

On a slightly more serious note, thank you for your actions earlier this year, providing necessary legal services to those not in a place (literally) to procure them on their own. I am curious how you got started in criminal defense/immigration law. If you don't mind, I'm also interested in learning about the Muslim women's PAC you founded. Finally, how did you decide to actually physically go to Dulles to take action? Apologies if any/all of these are covered by media or on your website, but I'm at work and can't dig around as much as I like.

Oh, and is there anything that a regular, non-lawyer person can do to help? Ideally something nonpartisan, but whatever you feel is most needed.

Thanks again!

A:

Without onions there is no flavor. And the manner you cook the onion can change the entire flavor of your dish - from crunchy and bitter and acidic to sweet and mellow. Onions are where it's at. My favorite pastry is an incredibly well made croissant. Perfectly layers and laminated, just buttery enough to melt in your mouth with flakes that dribble but don't fall all over your shirt. It takes days to make but oh so worth it.

I started my career as a prosecutor. Always wanted to be on that side of the law. After 9/11 everything changed so I switched sides and never looked back. I fell into immigration because I was the only foreign person in my town.

I sat in my room in January when the travel ban was announced and couldn't believe my country could hate me this much. When IRAAP sent out the call to lawyers I went because otherwise I would have cried the whole time. And it was amazing. I'm so glad I did.

And what can you do to help that is non-partisan - do whatever you feel needs to be done. Find a place where you are drawn to help, where it doesn't feel like a burden and do it. It never is about the White House or donkeys or elephants. It is always about people.


Q:

What's the legal status of persons registered under DACA in the US? The uscis.gov says DACA does not provide lawful status, but does that mean DACA recipients are still in the US unlawfully? Or, is there some kind of grey area inbetween?

Also, is there a difference in the meaning between unlawful and illegal in the context of immigration law? Are the words interchangeable? Do they each have their own specific meaning?

A:

Loads of grey areas in immigration. Anyone who is here and applying for a greencard after being out of status can get an EAD (employment authorization) but they don't have legal status meaning they aren't immigrants, they don't have a visa, etc. We just want them to pay taxes. (Which they do.) Unlawful and illegal are interchangeable as far as I can tell. We say that people who are here as overstays are accruing unlawful presence not illegal presence.