What We Mean When We Say We Care
by Jeannine Sherman
Wednesday June 08, 2022
“The best of you are the best to their families” – hadith of the Prophet Muhammad SAW (Mishkat al-Masabih 3252)
I want to tell you a story about family. I want to tell you about some of the kind, talented people who support our families.
Mr. E was removed from the No Fly list through the efforts of our MLFA-funded Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA). His wife also received assistance for her immigrant visa to come to the U.S. Over time, our attorneys have come to know the E family well.
Christina Jump, Civil Litigation Department Head at CLCMA, advised the family to notify us of their future travel plans. Our CLCMA team wanted to be sure to be on standby just in case the E family had trouble at the airports. Early in May, the family notified our legal team a few days before their trip.
Grandma E was planning to travel to the United States from the Middle East in order to have surgery on a brain tumor. Her husband, Grandpa E, was planning to meet Mr. E, her son, in London so that Mr. E could accompany Grandma E to the U.S. Because of her brain tumor, the doctor was insisting that Grandma E not be alone at any point during the trip. She was having trouble walking and was unable to hear out of one ear.
To be proactive, CLCMA attorneys provided each of the traveling family members with a letter informing any officials they may encounter along the way that these citizens have been researched and that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not advise them of anything that should inhibit their ability to travel. As U.S. citizens, these E family members should have been able to travel to and enter the United States with little to no trouble.
Over the weekend of May 15th, our CLCMA attorneys learned that the airlines prevented Grandma E from boarding the plane from London to the United States. Christina Jump explained that she was up in the middle of the night that Sunday, anticipating the time difference for Monday morning in London. During the night, the CLCMA team made contact with the U.S. Consulate in London to get Grandma E here as quickly as possible. Our attorneys spoke with airport and consulate officials in London as well as officials here in the United States. They were able to get Grandma E on a new flight very early that Wednesday morning.
Mr. E, accompanying his mother, stayed in touch with CLCMA attorneys through each step of the security process in London, providing updates as they made it through each checkpoint. When they arrived in the United States, security interrogated Mr. E and Grandma E for hours before allowing them to proceed to the hospital.
At one point federal agents separated Mr. E from his mother despite the medical requirement that she not be left alone. They took Grandma E’s phone, and a man identifying himself as an FBI agent called some of the contacts in her phone to “verify they were accurate”. Since those calls included another E family member waiting at the airport to pick them up, our CLCMA team learned of this in real time. They “blasted” Grandma E’s phone, sending multiple messages informing the agents in possession of her phone that this family was represented by our legal team and that DHS already knew of their medical emergency.
After a four-hour delay, Mr. E and his mother made it through security. Grandma E arrived at the hospital and has since been able to have her surgery. She is now recovering with her family by her side.
What a blessing to have your team of lawyers on call, even through the middle of the night. I’m moved by how relentlessly our team advocated for this client. This is a beautiful example of what we mean when we say we care.